Text messages were sent to another 2.5m people, with those aged over 40 years of age encouraged to book their jab via the national booking service.
Members of the public aged 42 and 43 were invited to have their vaccination earlier this week, including the health and social care secretary Matt Hancock who was inoculated by deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam.
Nearly three quarters of a million appointments were made on 26 and 27 April as the NHS began inviting 44-year-olds to receive jabs as GPs continue to carry out the majority of vaccinations despite workload pressures.
Since the vaccination rollout began in December, more than 28m people have been protected with at least one dose in England – nearly two thirds of the adult population.
NHS staff have fully vaccinated more than 11m people with second doses remaining a priority. The general public has been asked to ensure that they get their second dose for maximum protection against coronavirus.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, said: ‘With nine tenths of people aged 45 and over having been jabbed, nearly three quarters of a million new appointments were made in just two days as our booking service opened to people aged 42 to 44.
‘With second doses also proceeding apace, we’re now ready to invite all those aged 40 and over to join the most successful vaccination drive in health service history.’
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,700 sites across England, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, and NHS England says the vast majority of people live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis, said: ‘The rapid rollout of the NHS vaccination programme, the swiftest in Europe, is down to months of careful planning and sheer hard work by nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our volunteers.
‘If you receive a text inviting you for your jab, please follow the instructions provided and book – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the virus.’
Mr Hancock received his vaccine on 29 March at the Science Museum in London. He thanked NHS staff administering jabs and urged others to step forward when they were called.
Brilliant! Got the jab. In & out in 8 minutes. Didn’t hurt at all.
Massive thanks to JVT & the @sciencemuseum team.
When you get the call, get the jab! pic.twitter.com/dPhUwkGEYB
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) April 29, 2021
The government announced on 28 March that UK supplies of the Pfizer vaccine had been more than doubled ahead of an autumn booster campaign that could see GP-led teams deliver tens of millions more jabs alongside an expanded flu vaccination programme.
However, GPonline has recently reported that some PCNs running vaccine sites are struggling to keep up with the demands of giving COVID jabs alongside heavy day-to-day primary care workload – and may be forced to pull out.
Official figures published on 29 April show that the profession delivered 4.8m more appointments in March compared with the previous month, with BMA warning practices are at ‘breaking point’.