THOSE over the age of 16 with certain underlying health conditions are next in line as the Covid vaccination programme moves into a new phase on Monday.

GP sites across the country will begin vaccinating those in 'Cohort 6,' as the Government this week met its target to offer the vaccine to those in the top four priority groups.

NHS England has said clinically vulnerable people in Cohort 6 will be invited to book their jab as North-East primary care networks this week confirmed they were getting ready.

The Darlington Primary Care Network, which is managing the vaccine roll-out in the town, confirmed it will shortly contact those between 16 and 65 who fall under Cohort 6.

Providing an update it said: "We will be in touch as soon as we have notification of a vaccine delivery for this cohort."

According to NHS England GP sites will focus on Cohort 6, while invites for those aged between 65 and 69 (under Cohort 5) has already got underway.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommends that all individuals between 16 and 65 with underlying health conditions which put them at 'higher risk of serious disease and mortality,' will be included under Cohort 6.

They are those with:

- Chronic respiratory disease

- Chronic heart disease and vascular disease 

- Chronic kidney disease 

- Chronic liver disease

- Chronic neurological disease, including severe or profound learning disability

- Diabetes mellitus

- Immunosuppression 

- Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen

- Morbid obesity

- Severe mental illness

In addition, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation says those who are younger adults in long-stay in-patient, nursing and residential care settings are eligible.

It also says those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable, fall under Cohort 6.

Despite the programme moving into its next phase, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued a direct appeal to anyone over 70 who has not had the jab to contact the NHS over the weekend to book an appointment.

Some regions have already started vaccinating people aged 65 to 69, with NHS England having previously said that people in this age group could get a vaccine if GPs have supplies.