Nearly two million over 60s can now book a coronavirus jab, as the UK’s vaccination programme continues to rapidly expand.

NHS England said that they will contact people aged 60 to 63 from Monday and explain how to make an appointment through the national booking service.

It comes after more than three in four people aged 65 to 70 took up the offer of a vaccination, the organisation added, having also previously contacted 64-year-olds. The UK has now given some 20 million people a first dose and close to 800,000 a second dose.

NHS England said the latest batch of invites arriving this week will mean everyone in the first seven priority groups will have been offered a jab, with people aged between 50 and 60 set to be invited shortly. Meanwhile, black church leaders have renewed their efforts to encourage vaccine take up in the community.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘Since around four fifths of 65-69 year olds have now been vaccinated, we’re rapidly working our way down the generations, with people ages 60 plus now able to come forward.

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‘As expected vaccine supply increases in March, we’re planning for further acceleration as we head towards Easter.’

The government is aiming to offer all over 50s a jab by mid April and all adults by the end of July.

Meanwhile, leaders from 60 of the UK’s black majority churches joined forces on Sunday to show their support for the Covid-19 vaccine to their congregations.

They will back the rollout of the programme, and urge their congregations to seek out the facts about the vaccine from trusted sources.

They will also confirm that they have either already been vaccinated or will get one when it is their turn.

The alliance of Christian leaders, which includes Bishop of Dover the Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, said they felt compelled to act after data suggested black people are among those most likely to be hesitant about receiving a vaccine.

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Bishop Hudson-Wilkin said: ‘When you are offered the Covid vaccine, please take it.

‘This is our chance to show we care for ourselves and our neighbours.

‘Don’t let misinformation rob you of your opportunity to protect yourself and others.’

This initiative has been organised by Christian umbrella organisations Churches Together in England, Evangelical Alliance and YourNeighbour.

A total of 17,254,844 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and February 26, according to provisional NHS England data, including 16,679,881 first doses.

The push to get as many of the most at-risk people protected means nine in 10 people in the top four priority groups have received a jab, NHS England said.

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People can use the national booking service to reserve a slot at one of more than NHS Vaccination Centres or almost 200 pharmacy-led services across the country, it added.

The booking service can be accessed at http://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

Those who cannot go online can call 119 free of charge and NHS teams are visiting people who are housebound and cannot travel to a vaccination service.

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