Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

COVID-19: ‘Glastonbury-style’ rush for vaccine appointments as rollout extended to over-25s in England

There was a “Glastonbury-style” rush for coronavirus vaccine appointments after the rollout was expanded to people in England over the age of 25, the NHS has said.

A total of 493,000 appointments for COVID-19 jabs were booked by midday on Tuesday, five hours after the eligibility was widened.

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This equates to around 100,000 bookings an hour and is more than double the number booked on Monday.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “This encouraging Glastonbury-style rush for appointments has already now seen hundreds of thousands of people between 25 and 29 book in for their NHS COVID jabs, as more vaccine supplies continue to come on line.

“Pleasingly this suggests strong enthusiasm for vaccination amongst people in their 20s, following hard on the heels of the millions of others who’ve already taken up our offer.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “absolutely thrilled” that young people had “come forward for the jab in full force”.

“We have one of the highest vaccine uptake rates in the world and these latest booking figures are testament to this,” he said.

However, many people reported experiencing issues with the booking website.

Some posted screenshots on social media showing an error message informing them that they are “not currently eligible to book through this service” and to call the 119 helpline to try and secure an appointment.

Others said they were told they were in a queue of thousands waiting to book.

A spokesperson for NHS Digital said: “Large numbers of people are currently booking their vaccine appointments through the NHS website, which means you may need to wait in a queue.

“We know that some people have been receiving an ineligible message when trying to book, which is being fixed now, so please retry.”

The expansion of the vaccine rollout means around three million more people are now eligible for a jab.

A total of 40,573,517 people in the UK have so far received their first jab, while 28,227,362 second vaccines have been administered.

All adults have already been called forward to get their vaccine in Northern Ireland and most of Wales.

In Scotland, those aged 18 to 29 have been asked to register for their inoculation, with jabs commencing from mid-June.

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