The next phase of the coronavirus vaccination programme has been unveiled.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Friday announced the next order of priority once the most vulnerable are vaccinated.
People aged 40-49 are next in line for a jab, after the government advisers concluded that vaccinating in order of age remains the quickest way to cut deaths.
The JCVI did consider whether groups such as teachers and police officers should be vaccinated next, but concluded speed is of the utmost importance, while age remains a major factor in serious illness.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for the JCVI, told a press briefing that age “remains a dominant factor – it is still one of the most important causes of severe disease, even in those aged 50 years and below”.
So when will phase two begin?
Phase two includes all adults aged under 50.
This means that priority will be given in the following order:
– All those aged 40-49
– All those aged 30-39
– All those aged 18-29
Prof Wei Shen Lim told the Downing Street briefing that he couldn't provide a date for when phase two will start, but that it will be the end of phase one.
"We will flow one into the other," he said.
However the government has a target of vaccinating all those in phase one by mid-April, so it should be some time around then.
If it goes to plan, the programme for first doses should be completed by the end of July.
A UK government spokeswoman said: “All four parts of the UK will follow the recommended approach, subject to the final advice given by the independent expert committee.
“The UK government remains on course to meet its target to offer a vaccine to all those in the phase one priority groups by mid-April, and all adults by the end of July.”