Everyone who is entitled to a COVID jab is urged to come forward as new figures showed the NHS vaccination programme racked up record numbers of jabs last week.
NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis called on anyone who qualifies for a jab, but has not yet received one, to book an appointment in the next few days before slots dry up.
The call came after NHS staff delivered more than 3.5 million doses in the seven days to Sunday, 1.5 million up on the previous week which had also been a record.
Four in five people in the first nine priority groups have now received at least one dose since the NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, kicked off a little over 100 days ago.
Dr Longstaff, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCGs, said:
“It is a testament to the careful planning and sheer hard work of staff that the NHS vaccination programme is continuing to protect people against coronavirus at a record pace.
“The vaccination is quick, painless and safe and it feels great knowing you’ve got protection against COVID-19 so if you are eligible do not delay, book a jab.”
Far fewer appointments will be available for first doses from next week as the bulk of available supplies are used to fully vaccinate people with a second jab.
The proportion of people aged 50-54 having their first jab has shot up over the past week from 42% to 70% with the NHS now putting a laser focus on inviting everybody in the most at-risk cohorts protected ahead of 15 April 2021 and more constrained supply of available doses next month.
People with a learning disability or living with an underlying health condition like serious asthma, who are yet to get their jab are being urged to book before 29 March, with some GPs calling each of their unvaccinated patients personally to encourage uptake.
Doctors, nurses and hundreds of other staff, supported by volunteers and others, are delivering the life-saving jab at more than 27 sites ranging from mosques and temples to sports stadiums and universities.
The NHS is inviting those eligible for a jab by letter and text with GPs also calling some patients.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and letters include a web link to click and reserve an appointment at one of the large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.
Anybody aged 50 or over can book themselves in for a first dose before March 29th online using the national booking system, either by calling 119 or booking on-line www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.
People aged 18 and over, who are clinically vulnerable, should also book themselves in for a jab this month.
GPs will continue contacting eligible patients and vaccinating them throughout April with a first dose.
Last week, 24 hours after the chief executive of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, received his first dose, the Prime Minister also got his jab, both receiving the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine.
More than 24 million people have been vaccinated since the launch of the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS last December.