People over the age of 45 in England are now being invited to receive their first Covid vaccine dose.
Over-45s can now book their vaccination appointment online, as the Government reaches its target of offering a coronavirus jab to the top nine highest priority groups in the UK by mid-April.
Almost 40 million doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in the UK since the rollout began in December 2020 the Government has said, including 32 million first jabs and more than seven million second doses.
Those in the eligible age group can now book their vaccine on the NHS website, which has been updated to say that people aged 45 and over can book a coronavirus jab.
This signals the start of ‘Phase 2’ of the UK’s vaccination rollout programme, which aims to offer vaccines to healthy adults under the age of 50.
However, shortly after it was announced that over-45s could now book their Covid vaccination appointment, the NHS website crashed.
A message on the website said: “The NHS website is currently experiencing technical difficulties.
“We are working to resolve these issues. Thank you for your patience.”
Other users also trying to book a vaccine appointment reported being placed in a queue, with a holding screen which said: “You are in a queue. Lots of people trying to book an appointment.”
In Scotland, you will receive a letter or phone call with your appointment details when you are eligible to receive a Covid vaccine.
‘Really good reasons why we need to be cautious here’
Although the UK’s Covid vaccination programme is well underway and lockdown restrictions are now slowly beginning to ease, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said that people still need to make sure they follow the rules.
Mr Hopson told Sky News: “I know I might sound a bit like a prophet of doom the day after we’ve started enabling people to go back to the pub garden, but the reality is there are … really good reasons why we need to be cautious here.
“We need to be really careful about assuming we’re on a one-way, inexorable, inevitable track to it all being fantastic and we can go back to normal, because actually we’ll need a new normal.”
He added: “We need everyone to put their own personal pedal to the metal and ensure they follow the rules.”