POLITICS
26/04/2021 00:01 BST

Covid Vaccine Invites For 44-year Olds From Monday

Around half a million more people will be asked to have their jab, as new adverting campaign gets underway.

PA Media
Vaccine

People aged 44 will be invited to book their Covid jab from Monday, as the government launches a new campaign designed to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Around half a million 44-year olds will receive a text inviting them to get their first dose through the national booking service.

More than half of the UK’s total population has received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, figures show, including more than two thirds of people aged 45 to 49.

The NHS said the decision to move to people aged 40-43 will be set out in the “coming days”.

Sir Simon Stevens, the NHS England chief executive, said getting the vaccine was “the best protection you and your loved ones” could get.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said the vaccination programme would help the UK “put this pandemic behind us”.

The government has a target of offering the vaccine to every adult by the end of July.

As the rollout moves onto younger people, a new advertising campaign will run across radio, multicultural media, social media and on billboards in prominent locations across Manchester, Liverpool and London.

The “every vaccination gives us hope” campaign encourages those due to be offered vaccines in the second phase of the rollout to join the millions of people who have already received their jabs.

Vaccine hesitancy in Britain is highest among 16 to 29-year-olds, according to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

An ONS survey carried out in February and March found some 12% of people in this age group said they had declined the vaccine, were unlikely to have the jab if offered or did not know if they would have a vaccination.

This is the equivalent of around 1.2 million people, based on the weighted population figures used in the ONS survey.

Hesitancy was 9% among those aged 30 to 49, the equivalent of 1.6 million people.

In documents published on Friday, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said as vaccines reach the younger age groups there would be a “greater impact on population-wide transmission” of the virus, as young people tend to have more contacts than older people.