Over-80s urged to keep phones switched on to receive Covid jab invite

Dr Therese Coffey

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey - Credit: House of Commons

Over-80s with a mobile phone have been urged to keep their devices turned on - so they can receive text messages inviting them for an all-important coronavirus vaccine.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey had raised fears that some people in their 80s and 90s in the Aldeburgh and Woodbridge areas were being overlooked for a jab, while those aged in their 70s in other areas were getting invites.

However, she has since been assured everyone in the top two groups should get an invitation to book a vaccination within the next 24 hours.

She said: "That will come as a text to a mobile phone or by letter. I have been speaking to the Suffolk Federation of GP practices and I've been assured that everyone will be getting an invitation by one of those two methods.

"I was concerned that those who don't have a mobile could miss out, that we could have a digital divide - but I've been assured now that everyone will be contacted.

"But if you do have a mobile phone, keep it switched on."

She added: "I have raised these questions with (vaccines minister) Nadhim Zahawi but I'm assured the roll-out is continuing and that everyone over 80 years old will have been invited for a vaccination by the end of the month."

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The speed of the roll-out varied because different GP groups were receiving it at different times - but everyone should soon be covered.

Dr Coffey said that her constituency has mostly received the Pfizer vaccine so far, which she said is “more challenging to distribute especially in a rural area" because of its need for ultra-cold storage.

However, overall she felt that the vaccination programme was continuing to go well - despite glitches that had shown up at some sites.