Record number of vaccine bookings as over 25s offered jabs

9 June 2021, 17:00 | Updated: 9 June 2021, 17:46

Over a million vaccine appointments were booked on Tuesday
Over a million vaccine appointments were booked on Tuesday. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

More than a million Covid vaccine appointments were booked on Tuesday after jabs were opened up to over 25s, the highest number seen in a single day.

The surge in bookings, described by NHS England as a "Glastonbury-style rush", coincided with adults in England aged 25-29 being invited to book their appointments, and caused the NHS website to experience technical glitches.

"Enthusiasm for the biggest and most successful vaccination programme remains strong as bookings for the lifesaving jab reached an all-time high yesterday and the obvious enthusiasm of younger adults to get their jab has blown out of the water the suggestion that people in their 20s might not come forward to protect themselves and their loved ones," said Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS in England.

"The Covid-19 vaccine is still the best protection against coronavirus and as further supplies become available to us week by week it's great that we've seen 25 to 29-year-olds sending bookings to blockbuster levels, following hard on the heels of the millions of others.

"Getting the lifesaving Covid-19 jab is the most important thing you can do, so book your appointment and get that vital protection.

"Remember: when you get the text, you're next."

A total of 1,082,596 first and second dose slots were booked throughout the day - four times the number booked on Monday.

At the height of the action on the "blockbuster" day, vaccinations were booked at a rate of more than 1,600 per minute – or 100,000 an hour.

By midday alone, the national booking service had seen 2.5 times the number of appointments made in the whole of the previous day.

"Hitting one million bookings in a day sends a fantastic signal that getting the Covid-19 vaccine is something that all of us - no matter our age - can value and be excited by and most importantly should get, when our opportunity comes," said Dr Emily Lawson, lead for the NHS Covid vaccination programme.

"What I hope and expect we will see in the coming weeks is that everyone who is yet to book their jab or be invited will follow the example of the people who seized the moment yesterday, not just by getting their first jab but maximising their protection and making sure they get both doses."

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: "Our vaccines are keeping us and the ones we love safe from this devastating disease, and it's clear young people understand just how vital their contribution is in getting us back on track to normality too.

"The excitement and enthusiasm for the vaccine is remarkable and just goes to show how, as a country, we remain united in our dedication to conquer Covid-19 once and for all.

"Let's keep up this fantastic momentum - if you're over 25, get your jab booked in and join the millions protected from Covid-19."

NHS England have said that the vaccination programme is now on the “home straight”, as latest figures reveal approximately eight in 10 adults in England had coronavirus antibodies by May 17.

58 million doses of the vaccine have been administered since the programme launched six months ago, including both first and second jabs.