People aged 40-49 will be prioritised next for a Covid-19 vaccine, with scientific advisers saying the move would "provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time".
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has considered whether groups such as teachers and police officers should be vaccinated next, but concluded that the most effective way to prevent death and hospital admission is to carry on prioritising people by age.
It said modelling studies for phase 2 of the vaccination programme also indicate that the speed of vaccine deployment is the most important factor in helping prevent severe illness and death.
This means that in phase 2, priority will be given in the following order:
- All those aged 40-49
- All those aged 30-39
- All those aged 18-29
These groups will be vaccinated once all those in phase 1 (the over-50s and most vulnerable) have received a jab.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for JCVI, said: "Vaccinations stop people from dying and the current strategy is to prioritise those who are more likely to have severe outcomes and die from Covid-19.
"The evidence is clear that the risk of hospitalisation and death increases with age.
"The vaccination programme is a huge success and continuing the age-based rollout will provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time, including to those in occupations at a higher risk of exposure."
The JCVI said vaccination targeting occupational groups (such as teachers) would be more complex to deliver and may slow down the vaccine programme, leaving some vulnerable people at higher risk for longer.
It also said that, operationally, simple and easy-to-deliver programmes are "critical for rapid deployment and high vaccine uptake".
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at Public Health England (PHE), said: "Delivering a vaccination programme on this scale is incredibly complex and the JCVI's advice will help us continue protecting individuals from the risk of hospitalisation at pace.
"The age-based approach will ensure more people are protected more quickly.
"It is crucial that those at higher risk - including men and BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic communities) communities - are encouraged to take the vaccine, and that local health systems are fully engaged and reaching out to under-served communities to ensure they can access the vaccine."
On Thursday, Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh criticised the Government over the move, saying: "It's absolutely disgusting - they don't give a damn about us.
"Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel should hang their heads in shame."