Thousands have rushed to the NHS website to book their Covid-19 vaccination after the Government opened up appointments for all 25-29 year-olds in England this morning. So many people have flooded the website, new users are being added to a virtual queue system – faced with a wait while some 11,000 people ahead of them book an appointment.
A number of people have reported seeing a message informing them “you are now in a queue, lots of people are trying to book an appointment”, but the queue system never updates to reveal their position or the remaining time they’ll have to wait. Some people have shared screenshots of the NHS booking site crashing during the wait, with an error message apologising for “technical difficulties” although thankfully, these issues don’t appear too widespread.
But while that’s probably to be expected with such a large age group becoming eligible for vaccination overnight – after all, Health Secretary Matt Hancock only confirmed that appointments would be available to over-25s for the first time at the despatch box in the House of Commons yesterday – there does seem to be a glitch somewhere in the NHS system.
According to some people who managed to get to the front of the queue, their appointment is being rejected. The NHS site informs them that they’re “not eligible” for the jab. A number of younger people have taken to social media to highlight the issues with the booking system this morning.
Some users, sharing their experience on Twitter, have claimed they were waiting for more than thirty minutes to get through to the booking form to find their local vaccination centre – only to be told they are not eligible.
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With vaccinations now open to the 25-29 age bracket, some three million more people are eligible for a vaccine. Under-40s in the UK are being given Moderna or Pfizer vaccinations, due to concerns about blood clots with the Astra-Zeneca jab developed with teams at the University of Oxford.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Matt Hancock confirmed: “From this week we will start offering vaccinations to people under 30, bringing us ever closer to the goal of offering a vaccine to all adults in the UK by the end of next month. From tomorrow morning, we will open up vaccination to people aged 25 to 29.”
Across the UK, more than 40,460,576 adults have received their first jab, while 27,921,294 second vaccines have been administered. Two jabs are required for the highest level of protection against the virus, while trials are ongoing to determine whether a third “booster” shot could help quash future waves of Covid-19 in the autumn and winter