The NHS has kicked off the next phase of its world-renowned covid vaccination programme this week with a spring campaign to protect the most vulnerable, starting in care homes.

Around a million people in the North East and Yorkshire are now eligible for a spring covid jab, including those over 75s, those with a weakened immune system and older adult care home residents.

Those living in care homes are being prioritised and begin to receive vaccinations from Monday (3rd April) as roving NHS teams visit homes to offer protection.

Others eligible will be able to book in on the National Booking Service or NHS App from today (Wednesday 5th April), for the first appointments available week commencing Monday 17th April.

It will be the first time that millions will be sent their initial invitations through the NHS App, where they can also book, as the NHS continues to expand its technological capabilities.

Text messages and letters will also be sent to those without the app or not actively using it.

The health service – now in its 75th year – has administered more than 144.5 million covid jabs over several vaccination campaigns since Maggie Keenan became the first in the world outside of a clinical trial to receive the vaccination in December 2020.

Dr Faisel Baig, Medical Director for Primary Care, NHS North East and Yorkshire region, said Covid-19 is still circulating widely, and older people are at the greatest risk of more severe illness and being hospitalised.

“Covid is still a virus that can cause serious illness and hospitalisation, and so it is really important those at greatest risk come forward and boost their protection in the coming weeks”.

“If you are over 75 or you have a weakened immune system, please come forward as soon as possible to book a Covid vaccine this spring. It’s quick and easy and will give the protection you need for the months ahead.”

There will be more than 500 sites across this region, with the majority of appointments being delivered in communities by pharmacies and GPs.

The vaccination is being offered to those considered most at risk, following advice from the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation. People invited should make sure their appointment takes place at least three months after their last dose.

Anyone who believes they should be eligible for a vaccine but does not get invited can check online. Alternatively, they can self-declare via the National Booking Service and then speak to a clinician on-site. The last spring vaccination appointments will be offered on 30 June.

Covid-19 vaccinations for everyone who was aged 5 on or before 31 August 2022 will also end after that date, following recent advice from the JCVI. After 30 June, the NHS offer will become more targeted to those at increased risk, usually during seasonal campaigns.