People aged 40 and over in England are now being invited to book their coronavirus jab, NHS leaders have announced.
NHS England said that text messages will be sent out from Friday to 40 and 41-year-olds allowing them to arrange their vaccination appointments.
It follows nearly three quarters of a million appointments being made on Monday and Tuesday after the vaccine rollout was extended to people aged 42 to 44, it added.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “With nine tenths of people aged 45 and over having been jabbed, nearly three quarters of a million new appointments were made in just two days as our booking service opened to people aged 42 to 44.
“With second doses also proceeding apace, we’re now ready to invite all those aged 40 and over to join the most successful vaccination drive in health service history.”
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NHS England said that with people aged 42 to 44 having already been texted this week it means 2.5 million more people have been invited for their jab.
It comes as the latest NHS England figures revealed more than 28.5 million people in England had received their first jab by April 28, nearly two thirds of the adult population.
The data, published on Thursday, also showed that nearly 12 million people had received their second doses, making them fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for the NHS in England, urged people who received a text invite to book their jab to do so.
He said: “The rapid rollout of the NHS vaccination programme, the swiftest in Europe, is down to months of careful planning and sheer hard work by nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our volunteers.
“If you receive a text inviting you for your jab, please follow the instructions provided and book – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the virus.”
It comes as a leading expert said vaccinated Brits should now be encouraged to “get out and socialise” despite the full relaxation of rules not coming until June 21.
NHS England said that when invited, people will be able to book in at a vaccination centre or pharmacy site through the national booking service.
Text invitations appear as an alert from “NHSvaccine” and include a link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.