People over the age of 40 in England are now being invited to book their first Covid vaccine jab, the NHS has announced.

From today (Friday, 30th April), NHS England will be sending out text messages informing 40 and 41-year-olds they are able to book an appointment.

The announcement comes days after the vaccine rollout was extended to people aged 42 to 44 with nearly three quarters of a millions appointments booked on Monday and Tuesday.

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.”

NHS England said that with people aged 42 to 44 having already been texted this week it means 2.5 million more people have been invited for their jab.

It comes as the latest NHS England figures revealed more than 28.5 million people in England had received their first jab by April 28, nearly two thirds of the adult population.

The data, published on Thursday, also showed that nearly 12 million people had received their second doses, making them fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who received his first coronavirus vaccination at London’s Science Museum on Thursday, said: “The UK’s vaccination programme has been a phenomenal success so far, with more than 47 million doses administered and one of the highest uptake rates in the world.

“Building on this excellent progress we are now opening up vaccinations to 40 and 41 year olds.

“I got my jab yesterday and I urge everybody in these age groups to book a jab as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones from this dreadful disease.”

NHS England said that when invited, people will be able to book in at a vaccination centre or pharmacy site through the national booking service.

Text invitations appear as an alert from “NHSvaccine” and include a link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.

People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.