Coronavirus vaccinations can now be booked through the NHS app for the first time.
An update to the app released at the end of November allowed users to plan and manage their Covid jabs.
Greater digital integration is a priority for the NHS, which recently added the ability for people to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view detailed medical records in its standalone app.
A Covid-specific app was created with help from Apple and Google in 2020 to help with contact tracing and let people know when they may have been exposed to an infected person, as well as to allow the public to s register in places.
But this spin-off was largely abandoned by the public after Covid restrictions and lockdowns ended for good last year. Over 140 million Covid Passes have been generated through the NHS app and NHS website since the service was added in May 2021.
Previously, Covid vaccines could be booked over the phone or online, but not in the app. An eligible person would receive a text message and then be able to book a jab on their phone via the internet on the device.
Two-thirds of eligible over-50s have had a booster
People over 50 and younger people with certain health conditions can currently get their fall Covid booster.
Health officials are keen to get as many people vaccinated as possible to prevent the most vulnerable in society from being hospitalized over the winter as the NHS battles backlogs, a wave of flu, strikes and shortages of workforce and an ongoing outbreak of Strep A.
A person is only eligible for the omicron-specific bivalent booster made by Pfizer or Moderna if they have already received their first two original shots.
Two-thirds of eligible over-50s have now received their boosters, with that figure rising to 85% for those over 75. However, vaccination coverage is lower among people aged 50 to 60.
While at least two-thirds of all eligible over-60s received their booster, only half of all eligible 50-60-year-olds received the most recent dose.
Jabs reduce hospitalizations by more than 90%
Moderna jabs and Pfizer omicron jabs have been shown to reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalization by 90 and 95 percent, respectively.
Steve Russell, national director of vaccinations and screening for the NHS, told the Telegraph: “Since the first Covid vaccine was delivered by the NHS two years ago, the health service has made it so easy for people to get their life-saving shots as possible, with more than 16 million autumn reminders delivered since September, and it’s now easier than ever to book an appointment using the NHS app.
“Hundreds of sites across the country are making the vaccine as accessible as possible before Christmas, with pop-ups at food banks, community health centers, places of worship and traveling buses and taxis – so if you don’t have your Covid booster yet or even your first dose, please book as soon as possible to ensure maximum protection during the holiday period.