National booking system begins SMS booking trial with 55-year-olds

People aged 55 years old have become the first to receive SMS messages from the National Booking Service, inviting them for Covid-19 vaccination appointments.

Many people will have received SMS appointment offers from their GP practices, but this is the first time the national system has used this approach, which should make it easier for people to book appointments on smart phones.

The text has been sent to people aged 55, and is also being sent to some carers who have not yet had a vaccination.

Anyone who receives the invitation text message can click on the link provided in the message to make their booking. Eligible people can still call the free 119 number to arrange an appointment, or visit

NHS Derby and Derbyshire CCG Executive Medical Director Dr Steve Lloyd: “The Covid-19 vaccination programme has come a long way in a very short time, and the invitations for 55-year-olds is another sign of how quickly we have been able to reach so many people.

“The move to offer people in this age cohort an appointment using SMS message is a positive move, as it should make it easier for people to book their appointments.

“NHS staff, volunteers and other partners across Derbyshire have been doing a brilliant job, despite the challenges of running the biggest and most ambitious vaccination programme in history.”

Vaccine supply continues to be the main limiting factor for the availability of appointments, so people should be patient when trying to book their vaccination or while waiting for their age group to become eligible. The NHS expects supplies to increase in the next two weeks.

People who have received a letter or SMS from the national booking service can log in to and choose from 107 large-scale vaccination centres or 195 pharmacy-led sites.

Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

Although having your NHS number to hand will reduce the booking time, knowing it is not required to get a slot for a jab, as anyone in the top six priority groups identified by the JCVI can book their appointment online or by phone.