Over 40s could be given the opportunity to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccination by the end of March.
The UK’s vaccination programme has now enabled over 16 million people in the UK to receive the vaccine - the vast majority of whom are over 70.
Some government advisors have concluded that age should be the most important factor when determining priority groups - the tenth priority group would likely be over 40s.
Who has received the vaccine?
As of 19 February, around 93 percent of over 80s in England have been vaccinated with their first dose.
Almost 99 percent of over 75s and more than 9 in 10 of over 70s have received their vaccine.
Only 15 percent of anyone under 70 has been given their first dose, over 65s will be the next priority group.
The majority of those included in the 15 percent of under 70s are clinically extremely vulnerable people over the age of 16 and health and social care workers.
When will the top four priority groups be vaccinated?
The UK is currently on target to have vaccinated the top four priority groups by the end of February.
Two million vaccines will need to be rolled out in the last week of February in order to achieve this goal.
The top four priority groups include anyone over 70, health and social care workers and anyone over 16 who is considered at risk of serious ill health from the virus.
Matt Hancock has outlined when the top nine priority groups should all have received their first dose, which includes 32 million people.
By the end of April, everyone over the age of 50 should have been given their first dose of the Pfizer or Oxford -Astrazeneca jab.
The government has also pledged to vaccinate those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance and those who care for a clinically vulnerable elderly or disabled person.
They will receive their vaccine at the same time as adults under 65 years with long term conditions.
However, the rate at which the vaccination has been rolled out may enable targets to be met sooner than initially expected, potentially by the last week in March. This would allow the next priority group - the tenth on the list - to be vaccinated.
Are over 40s the next group in line?
The UK government has not announced what phase two of the priority lists will look like - with only the first nine groups defined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
There has been much speculation around which group will be deemed the next highest priority.
It has now been determined that police officers and teachers will be vaccinated after the most vulnerable groups - with targets suggesting this would be from May onwards.
The JCVI has tended to consider age the most important factor in determining the risk of coronavirus and met on 18 February to discuss who would be top priority in phase two.
Therefore, over 40s would be the next group and consultant respiratory physician Professor Wei Shen Lim has said age “dominates by a long way”, with health conditions “adding some increased risk”.
It is not yet known whether teachers and police officers would be vaccinated at the same time as over 40s, in much the same way over 80s and care sector workers were grouped together.
Reports have suggested age will take precedence over ethnic minorities and other key workers. Phase two is expected to be announced in week commencing 22 February.
Will everyone be vaccinated this year?
According to the head of the UK’s vaccine taskforce, Clive Dix, all adults in the UK could have received both doses of the Covid vaccination by autumn,
He told Sky News “We are confident within the vaccine taskforce now that the supply we're going to get will take us to a position where we can vaccinate as many people as the UK wants to vaccinate."
He was then asked if the vaccine taskforce was confident every adult could receive two jabs, to which he responded: "We're probably talking August time or September time all done, maybe sooner if we need to."
He added that he does not agree with giving UK purchased doses of the vaccine to other countries until everyone in the UK who wishes to receive it has had the opportunity to do so.
It has also been confirmed that research is currently underway at Oxford University into the impact of the virus on children and young people - with kids as young as six taking part in the trial.
Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, and Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said: “While most children are relatively unaffected by coronavirus and are unlikely to become unwell with the infection, it is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people as some children may benefit from vaccination.
“These new trials will extend our understanding of control of SARS-CoV2 to younger age groups.”