Until now the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first - and that remains the case for most people.
However, to ensure everyone is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month.
The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.
The system allows you to choose a time slot and location that suits you.
Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
If a suitable and convenient slot is not available, you can also call your GP practice.
Many who have not yet booked an appointment are already receiving follow-up letters and phone calls this week to encourage them to take up the offer of a jab.
Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England and practising GP, said:
“The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, is off to a strong start with every eligible care home receiving a visit and millions more people being vaccinated at one of over 1,500 centres across the country thanks to the tireless efforts of my colleagues.
“But if you are aged 70 and over, and haven’t yet received your vaccine, please come forward and make an appointment as soon as you can.
“The vaccine is safe, simple, and will offer you and those around you crucial protection against this virus.”
National booking system
The national booking system allows people to arrange a jab at a vaccination centre or pharmacy service.
Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.
People who do not know their NHS number can still book an appointment through the national system but will only be given an appointment if they are in the top four priority groups.
Sites have been chosen to ensure that the vast majority of the population live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
GP teams have also been asked to contact their clinically extremely vulnerable patients, who have been asked to shield, to ensure they have been offered the vaccine.
Anyone who received a letter in 2021 asking them to shield, should also receive an invitation from their GP, as well as an invitation from the national booking service inviting them for a jab.
People in priority groups who are given a vaccination appointment by both their local GP team and the National Booking Service should cancel the one they do not want so the slot can be used by someone else.
Health and social care workers, who are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination, should speak to their employer about arranging their jab.
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