Over-25s attempting to book jab on NHS website told they are not eligible

Over-25s in England have reported being unable to book their coronavirus vaccine through the NHS website, despite being eligible to do so from Tuesday.

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that those aged 25-29 in England – around three million people – will be invited to book their jabs from Tuesday as the NHS hailed reaching the “home straight” of the biggest vaccination programme in its history.

However, many young people have reported problems with the website on Tuesday morning, with some posting screenshots to social media, showing an error message which tells them that they are “not currently eligible to book through this service”.

It instead directs them to call the 119 helpline to try and book a vaccination.

Others also reported being told they were held in a queue of thousands.

In response, a spokesperson for NHS Digital said: “Large numbers of people are currently booking their vaccine appointments through the NHS website, which means you may need to wait in a queue.

“We know that some people have been receiving an ineligible message when trying to book, which is being fixed now, so please retry.”

The vaccine booking website has suffered glitches in the past, notably crashing in April in the wake of appointment slots being opened up to the over-45s following a surge in demand.

Last month, an apparent security flaw was also uncovered in the website which could allow anyone to work out another person’s vaccination status by entering their basic personal information – their name, date of birth and postcode – into the website.

Privacy experts warned that the flaw was exposing personal health information which could be exploited by scammers.

At the time, NHS Digital said it was reviewing and improving the standard messages that were presented on the website.