ALL adults in North Hampshire are now eligible to book a Covid-19 vaccination, The Gazette can reveal.

Everyone over the age of 18 has, or will soon, receive a text from their GP surgery inviting them to book a slot for their first vaccination dose at the Jameson House vaccination centre.

They will then receive a second dose between eight and eleven weeks later.

Surgeries in the region, which covers Basingstoke, Alton, Hook and Whitchurch and run the vaccination centres at Jameson House and the Hampshire Court Hotel, have released their next batch of slots over the next three to four weeks aimed at the next cohort.

It means teenagers in Basingstoke could get their first dose this month - weeks before the target of giving a first dose to all over 18s by the end of July.

Meanwhile, healthcare professionals will also be delivering second doses to those who are due them, estimated currently to be people around the age of 55.

The GP lead at Basingstoke's Jameson House and Hampshire Court centres, Dr Tim Cooper, told The Gazette that getting a Covid vaccine is important to ensuring lockdown restrictions end as soon as possible, and getting back to normal.

He said: "Vaccination is the best way for us to manage Covid moving forward.

"If we want to get back to normal life, we need everyone vaccinated.

"We have a vaccine for everyone.

"Vaccination is the key and we need everyone to play their part in helping us unlock."

However, because the national rollout is only vaccinating people aged 25 or older, anyone aged 18-24 cannot book a slot at Basingstoke Fire Station or the two pharmacies in Basingstoke and Alton giving jabs.

Dr Cooper said that people not currently registered with a GP can temporarily register in order to be vaccinated.

If they have not yet received a text, they can contact their GP.

People aged under 40 will be offered an alternative to the Oxford-Astra Zeneca jab, after concerns over a possible link between the vaccine and extremely rare blood clots.

However, young people can still be vaccinated with the Moderna jab, or Pfizer, which was recently approved for use in 12-15 year olds.

Earlier this week, the NHS website crashed after people aged 25-29 were allowed to book their first jab.

The rush to book a slot was likened to the rush of buying tickets to the Glastonbury music festival by NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens, with an average of 100,000 appointments an hour made on the first day of it being available to that age group.

It saw concerns about vaccine hesitancy in young people dismissed - an Office for National Statistics survey recently suggested around 17 per cent adults aged 16 to 29 years reported vaccine hesitancy, the highest of all age groups.