THE Covid vaccine will be available to more age groups from today - as almost 4m people in their thirties have made appointments.

The NHS has today everyone over the age of 30 will be able to get their Covid jab from today, just days after being rolled out to those aged 32 and over.

It follows on from the recent rollout of the Moderna vaccine, meaning there are now three types of vaccine available for people in the UK.

Confirming the move to the next age group, the NHS said 1m people aged 30 and 31 will be invited by text over the coming days.

Those newly-eligible will also be able to book their vaccine at a mass vaccination site using the national NHS booking system, or by calling 119.

The Northern Echo: A vaccinator at Durham's Arnison Centre Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTA vaccinator at Durham's Arnison Centre Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

In the North-East, mass vaccination sites include locations at Darlington Arena, Arnison Centre in Durham, Centre for Life in Newcastle and Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and national medical director for primary care, said: “Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against Covid-19 with the jabs saving thousands of lives already and today the biggest and most successful NHS covid vaccination programme in history is rolling out to everyone in their thirties.

“The offer of a vaccine doesn’t expire so if you are eligible and haven’t booked please do come forward when you’re invited to.”

On the advice of the government and Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, people aged 50 and over and the clinically vulnerable are having their second doses brought forward to counter the spread of the Indian variant.

The NHS also said those under 39, who are eligible and pregnant, would be offered either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in line with updated guidance.

The Northern Echo:

Dr Emily Lawson, NHS England’s lead for the NHS vaccination programme, said the NHS had now given more than 50m jabs in the first six months of the rollout. 

She said: “The success of the NHS vaccination programme is not a happy accident - it’s the result of exceptional planning, targeted delivery and people’s determination to protect their patients, friends and communities as fast as possible.”

By following a link and easy booking steps, people can book both jabs at the same time and can choose from a list of NHS Vaccination Centres or pharmacy-led vaccination services as well as some GP-led sites.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night said the vaccination programme continues to move at a "phenomenal pace," and that the NHS is seeing record numbers in appointments made.

He said: “I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has rolled up their sleeves to help us roll out this life-saving jab. The NHS is booking record numbers of appointments and it is fantastic to see the public come forward in such exceptional numbers.

“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and recent data has shown the life-saving protection a second dose of the jab can give, especially against the new variant. I urge everyone to come forward when you get the offer and play a part in getting us back to normality.”

In the region, the NHS in the North East and Yorkshire earlier this week said more appointments would be made available in coming days for those already eligible after some reported they could not book a slot.

Read more: County Durham man’s 'frustration' over NHS Covid vaccine booking system

A Sunderland-man, who last week became eligible, said he had been unable to secure a first dose appointment at the Nightingale Hospital North East as there weren't any second dose appointments available.

The 34-year-old, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was unable to complete his booking at the mass vaccination site despite several attempts, and was instead offered an appointment in Penrith.

In response, a spokesperson for the NHS North East and Yorkshire said teams were working hard to make appointments available.