People aged 38 and 39 in England can book their coronavirus vaccines from this morning.
People in this age group, or who will turn 38 before July 1, can visit the NHS website to book their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
They are the first age group to be eligible for the vaccine who will be offered an alternative to the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which has been linked to extremely rare incidents of blood clots.
People aged under 40 will be offered either the Pfizer or the Moderna jab, although Boris Johnson described this as “a preference, not an absolute ruling”.
The risk of serious illness from Covid is significantly higher in the over 40s than it is in the under 40s.
As a result, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) decided that the Astra Zeneca vaccine was appropriate for use in over 40s, but, where possible, an alternative was more suitable for those aged 39 and under.
The vaccination of 38 and 39 year olds marks another significant step in the Government’s vaccination programme.
As of May 12, over 65% of adults in the UK had received their first dose, and 35% had received their second.
Data released today has shown that the prevalence of Covid-19 in the England is at its lowest level since August, and indicates that vaccines are stopping deaths.
It is not yet known if the emergence of the B1617.2 strain – also known as the Indian variant – in the UK poses a threat to the vaccination programme in the UK, although the European Medicines Agency said on Wednesday it was “pretty confident” that vaccines currently in use are effective against it.
However, the Scientific Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is meeting on Thursday to discuss the spread of the Indian variant amid fears it could impact the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
How do you book a Covid vaccine?
The NHS vaccine booking service HERE can be used online to book appointments.
Booking opened at 7am on Thursday and the website may place people in a queue due to high demand.
When using the online service, people will need to book both their vaccine appointments at the same time.