Around 50 hospitals nationwide will begin administering the coronavirus vaccine next week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said the British people could have "the sure and certain knowledge that we will succeed and reclaim our lives and all the things about our lives that we love".
But he urged everyone to continue obeying lockdown rules for now, and warned: "It will inevitably take some months before all the most vulnerable are protected."
The Prime Minister said the UK would "return to much closer to normal by the spring."
Mr Johnson also said there were "immense logistical challenges" around distributing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be storied at a temperature of minus 70 degrees.
Around 50 hospital hubs across England will next week start offering the vaccine to the over 80s and care home staff.
In the following weeks, more than 1,000 GP surgeries will become vaccination centres, inviting vulnerable patients to come in for jabs.
The vaccine will also be sent to care homes.
And around the beginning of January, local community pharmacists will start to adminster the vaccine too.
Setting out the vaccination plans, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, stressed that eligible people would be contacted by the NHS and did not need to apply to be vaccinated.
Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, urged everyone to take the vaccine when they had the chance.
The Prime Minsiter and the two senior officials were speaking following the announcement that Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine has been authorised for use in the UK, following clinical trials involving thousands of people.
Other vaccines may also be authorised in the weeks or months to come.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is given in two doses - three weeks apart - and data from clinical trials showed the vaccine is 94% effective in protecting people over the age of 65 from coronavirus, with trials suggesting it works equally well in people of all ages, races and ethnicities.
There were no serious safety concerns reported in the trials.
A total of 800,000 doses will be made available next week, and the UK has ordered 40 million doses ordered overall - enough to vaccinate 20 million people, around a third of the population.
The majority of doses are expected to arrive in the first half of next year.
NHS England will outline further details on deployment shortly, the Government says. Plans include:
• Hospital hubs for NHS and care staff and older patients to get vaccinated;
• Local community services with local teams and GPs already signing up to take part in the programme;
• Vaccination centres across the country using premises such as conference centres and sporting venues, ensuring people can access a vaccine regardless of where they live.
The vaccine will be available for free across the UK.