Hancock’s address comes amid the reveal of jab priority groups by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The Committee announced on 26 February that the next stage of the national vaccination programme, which will prioritise people aged 40-49.

According to JCVI, an “age-based approach remains the most effective way of reducing death and hospitalisation from COVID-19”.  

​“The age-based approach will ensure more people are protected more quickly. It is crucial that those at higher risk – including men and BAME communities – are encouraged to take the vaccine, and that local health systems are fully engaged and reaching out to underserved communities to ensure they can access the vaccine,” Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England (PHE), said.

The following order will be followed by health authorities, once all at-risk groups in Phase 1 have been offered at least one dose of the vaccine:

·        all those aged 40 to 49 years

·        all those aged 30 to 39 years

·        all those aged 18 to 29 years

A UK government spokesperson said that all parts of the UK will follow the recommended vaccination order.

Downing Street’s target is to offer a vaccine to all those in the phase 1 priority groups by mid-April, and all adults by the end of July.