Health chiefs will today unveil who will be in line for Covid vaccines once the over-50s are jabbed.
Britons as young as 40 are expected to be invited within weeks, with Government advisers expected to recommend the next phase continues on the basis of age.
Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) bosses will reveal their guidance at an 11am briefing. Matt Hancock is due to confirm the decision at a Downing Street press conference at 5pm.
Ministers can choose to defy the JCVI's advice but are not expected to.
No10 has pledged to offer jabs by April 15 to all 32million Britons in the top nine priority groups – the over-50s, NHS workers, care home residents and staff and adults considered at high risk.
Britain is currently on track to hit the ambitious target – even though the roll-out has slowed down over the past month.
The coronavirus vaccine drive – being led by the NHS – must go smoothly if the nation has any hopes of escaping tough lockdown restrictions over the next few months and being given freedom on June 21.
Ministers have faced calls to prioritise key workers, such as teachers and police officers, in the next phase of the inoculation drive.
However, JCVI bosses have indicated officials will likely continue the age-based approach.
Matt Hancock is due to confirm the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's decision on who will be in line for Covid vaccines once the over-50s are jabbed at a Downing Street press conference at 5pm today
This was the original top nine priority groups for the Covid vaccines, set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)
The body’s deputy chairman, Professor Anthony Harnden, this week argued there was no strong scientific argument to prioritise teachers next.
He told MPs that singling out professions could ‘slow’ and ‘complicate’ Britain’s vaccine roll-out, leaving people who are more vulnerable to coronavirus unprotected for longer.
The original priority list was drawn up based on how vulnerable people are to falling seriously ill and dying with Covid.
NHS England bosses today confirmed invites are now getting handed to people aged 64 who have yet to be vaccinated.
NHS workers, care home residents and staff, adults with learning disabilities or over-16s with serious underlying health conditions are the only other people officially eligible for the jab.
But England’s vaccine drive is subject to a massive postcode lottery, with some areas having already started dishing out Covid jabs to healthy people in their twenties.
NHS England statistics going up to February 21 show 15 areas of the country have vaccinated more than half of all residents. But as the country moved into the second stage of the rollout last Monday – moving down the age brackets from the current 65 to 69-year-olds group – the disparity in vaccine distribution across the country has come to light. Pictured: The top five and bottom five performing areas. Data is based on MailOnline's analysis of the NHS figures as well as Office for National Statistics population estimates for nearly 7,000 districts in England
BBC presenter Gary Lineker, 60, yesterday revealed he had received his first coronavirus vaccination, praising it as 'quick, painless, liberating and well organised'.
It means Lineker has got his jab early, with the NHS currently only vaccinating those aged 64 or over; the clinically vulnerable; people living or working in care homes; health and social care workers; and people eligible for carer's allowance.
MailOnline analysis of official vaccination figures yesterday laid bare the true extent of the postcode lottery.
Data revealed that some towns on the Isle of Wight and in Devon have inoculated nearly 20 times more people than an inner-city region of Sheffield.
London has given out the fewest doses to over-65s, with eight areas of the city falling in the bottom 10 parts of the country for rollout to the age group.
Bottom of the pile was Westminster (58.7 per cent), followed by West London (65.7 per cent), Tower Hamlets (66.1 per cent), Newham (70.3 per cent), City and Hackney (73.6 per cent), Barking and Dagenham (75.4 per cent) and Hammersmith and Fulham (75.6 per cent).
Top of the pack was Telford and Wrekin in Shropshire, which has vaccinated 97.7 per cent of all residents, followed by South Warwickshire (97.6 per cent) and Stafford (96.7 per cent).
Yarmouth and Freshwater in the Isle of Wight has given out the most first doses to all age groups, with 57.5 per cent of the villages having been given a jab.
This was followed by Sidmouth Town in Devon (57.33 per cent) and Felixstowe in Suffolk (54.74 per cent), with the vast majority of the other top ten areas being in the South East.
Meanwhile, inner city regions performed worst in vaccinating adults overall, with fewer than seven per cent receiving a first dose in parts of Leicester, Manchester, London, Leeds, Birmingham and Nottingham.
Prisoners will NOT jump vaccine queue: Downing Street quashes rumour that inmates will get Covid jab ahead of other groups
By DANIEL MARTIN FOR THE DAILY MAIL
Prisoners will not be offered a coronavirus vaccine ahead of other groups, Downing Street has insisted.
It was believed that local NHS health teams would be given the flexibility to go into jails and vaccinate inmates and staff - regardless of age.
This could happen if they thought it was more efficient to vaccinate entire prison populations stuck in confined spaces rather than make repeat visits.
But No 10 has now said this will not happen – though one Whitehall source questioned whether it would be possible for ministers to prevent it.
'The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) haven't made a specific recommendation on prisons,' the source said.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman insisted there was no question of prisoners receiving the jab before other groups in society.
Prisoners will not be offered a coronavirus vaccine ahead of other groups, Downing Street has insisted (File image)
‘That is obviously not the case and is not true,’ the spokesman said. ‘Prisoners won’t be prioritised for vaccines.
‘They are vaccinated at the same time as the general public in line with the JCVI prioritisation groups, no quicker than that.’
The government has faced calls to prioritise key workers such as teachers and police officers in the next phase of the rollout.
However, giving evidence to MPs on Wednesday, the deputy chairman of the JCVI, Professor Anthony Harnden, indicated officials were likely to continue the age-based approach, saying there was no evidence teachers were more at risk than other occupational groups.
‘I would say that one of the key reasons that this programme has been so successful is because it has been simple, it’s been deliverable, and it has been rolled out very quickly and people understand it,’ he told the Commons Science and Technology Committee.
The body representing police officers in London said Boris Johnson had shown contempt by not prioritising them for the vaccine.
‘It’s absolutely disgusting - they don’t give a damn about us,’ said Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation.
‘Police officers are catching and dying from Covid-19 because of their job and yet we are still not being given the protection the vaccine offers. It’s like we don’t exist.’