Matt Hancock urges over-70s yet to get Covid jab to contact NHS

Health secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street.

Health secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street. - Credit: Tolga Akmen/PA Wire

The health secretary has urged all those over 70 who have yet to be given an appointment for their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to contact the NHS to arrange one.

Previously the message had been for people to wait to be contacted by health services or local authorities in order to better manage the rollout.

But now Matt Hancock has asked all over-70s who are yet to be contacted to arrange their own jabs, as the government works towards reaching its goal of vaccinating everyone in priority groups one to four by February 15.

The health secretary said the government is "on track" to hitting that target, and said uptake had been "significantly better than we hoped for" up to now.

Almost one in four adults have now had their first jab, Mr Hancock added, with 12.2m doses administered in the last two months.

As of midnight last night, 91pc of all over-80s in England have had the vaccine, while that number is 95pc among those aged between 75 and 79.

Almost three-quarters of everyone aged between 70 and 74 have also been jabbed, and those who have yet to have their are now being asked to make their own appointments.

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Mr Hancock told the Downing Street press conference: "We're not going to rest until all those who are vulnerable have been protected.

"The NHS, local authorities and the teams working with them are doing everything they can to reach the remaining people in these at-risk groups.

"We'll keep on searching for those final few per cent, even as we expand the offer of a vaccine to younger age groups.

"We're on track to meet our goal of offering a vaccine to everyone in priority groups one to four by February 15, before moving on to the other priority groups.

"The NHS has worked hard to contact everyone in groups one to four, but we want to be certain.

"So, from today, I have a message for everyone aged 70 and above. Until now, we've said please wait for the NHS to contact you, but now that message is changing.

"If you live in England and are 70 or over, and have not yet got an appointment to be vaccinated, then please contact the NHS.

"The easiest way to do this is through the national booking service online at nhs.uk, or if you can't get online then you can call 119 or speak to your local GP practice."

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