NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said he was ” personally delighted” as he received his first Covid-19 vaccine jab.
Sir Simon, 54, is among 2.4 million people aged 50 to 54 who are now eligible for a vaccine, 100 days after the first dose was administered anywhere in the world.
He said the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab which he received on Thursday at Westminster Abbey’s vaccination site was “quick, painless and effective”.
Sir Simon said: “Today marks an important milestone as more than half of adults in England have now had their first NHS Covid vaccination.
“I’m personally delighted to have had my Oxford/AstraZeneca jab this morning. It’s quick, painless and effective.
“We’re on track to offer everyone aged 50 and above their vaccine by April 15, just as planned, so when you get your invitation, our message is: please take us up on the offer, and join nearly 22 million other people across England who’ve now had their jab.”
The NHS has been offering the vaccine to people who are most at risk as soon as doses have been made available, in line with independent advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Mosques, museums and rugby grounds are among more than 1,600 sites across the country where vaccinations are now being given.
Dr Jan Maniera, a GP and clinical director for South Westminster Primary Care Network, described the Westminster Abbey vaccination site as a “unique setting on such a crucial programme for our country”.
Local GPs, hospital clinicians, voluntary and faith leaders were all working together at the site as part of the rollout to try and “protect ourselves and our communities against this devastating virus”, Dr Maniera added.
She urged everyone who is eligible to come forward and “take advantage of these safe vaccines”.
Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus outside of a clinical trial when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on December 8.