People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 and who would like to are being asked to contact the NHS to arrange a jab.
Until now we have asked local people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first – and that remains the case for most people.
However, to ensure absolutely everyone across the Black Country and West Birmingham in the highest priority groups is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month.
The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination
The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them.
Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.
Many who have not yet booked an appointment are already receiving follow up letters and phone calls this week to encourage them to take up the offer of a jab.
Local GPs are also contacting their clinically extremely vulnerable patients, who have been asked to shield, to ensure they have been offered the vaccine also.
Health and social care workers, who are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination, should speak to their employer about arranging their jab.
Sally Roberts, Chief Nurse for Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs said: â€œWe are making strong progress with our vaccination rollout across the Black Country and West Birmingham, with every eligible care home receiving a visit and thousands more people being vaccinated at one of our vaccination sites.
â€œBut we want to ensure everyone in an eligible group has had the chance to get protected. No one will be left behind but we are seeing some people not taking up the offer. I really encourage anyone who is aged 70 and over or is on the shielded patient list to contact the NHS and make an appointment now if they have not yet taken up the offer of a vaccine or have not received an invite,â€
Dr Masood Ahmed, Chief Medical Officer, Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs, said: â€œThe vaccination programme is a major step forward in the battle against COVID-19 and gives us a light at the end of the tunnel.
â€œWhilst we are on track to meet our goal of offering everyone in the top four priority groups a vaccine, we are aware that some people have still not booked to get theirs.
â€œI now urge everyone aged 70 and over who hasnâ€™t yet had a vaccination to come forward and contact the NHS to book their jab. And I ask those who have grandparents, relatives and friends over 70, to please encourage them to book an appointment as soon as possible, so they can be protected against this awful virus.
â€œVaccines are the way out of this pandemic and, by ensuring you and your loved ones get booked in for a jab, the NHS can give those most at-risk the protection they need as we continue to fight this disease together.â€
The national booking system allows people to arrange a jab at a local Vaccination Centre or pharmacy service.
GP teams are following up with any of their patients they are yet to vaccinate.
Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.
People who do not know their NHS number can still book an appointment through the national system but will only be given an appointment if they are in the top four priority groups.