Matt Hancock is preparing to deliver a Downing Street press conference this afternoon where he is expected to update the country on the national vaccine rollout.
The Health Secretary is expected to detail when under 50s can expect their Covid jab along with younger ages groups.
The press conference will air this evening from No 10 Downing Street and will be available on all major news channels including BBC News and Sky News, as well as live streams via YouTube and other social media channels.
But what is he likely to say?
The JCVI is set to confirm their recommendations for when healthy adults under the age of 50 should get the jab.
It is understood the committee will recommend the government work their way down the age groups, from under 50s to under 40s and so on.
While the government can choose to defy the recommendations of the JCVI, it is thought they are likely to be accepted.
Matt Hancock is expected to confirm this in this afternoon’s press conference.
It has been suggested key workers should be given special priority in the rollout amid plans to gradually reopen the country, starting with schools on March 8.
However if Matt Hancock confirms the government will follow JCVI recommendations then key workers, including teachers, will not be prioritised for the vaccine.
The Health Secretary could provide clarity on this.
The move would anger teachers’ unions and the opposition who have been campaigning for priority for teachers ahead of the reopening of schools.
David Salisbury, a former Director of Immunisation for the government told the BBC that working through age groups is the quickest way to vaccinate the country.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’d hate to think vaccine gets wasted because there are not people to match every dose.”
He added: “The logical prioritisation is to use age which is so much more demonstrable than saying ‘my job is this or my job is that.
“So whilst I do have a view that some occupations may justify some prioritisation, logistically the straightforward way to do it is through an age-based approach.”
Vaccine rollout update
Mr Hancock is expected to provide an update on the vaccination rollout and its progress as lockdown continues.
Latest figures show more than 18 million people in the UK have received at least their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the biggest inoculation programme in the country’s history.
Vaccines are currently being administered at over 1,500 sites across the country including mosques and museums to rugby grounds and cathedrals, with the spread of sites chosen to ensure that more than 98% of the country lives within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
The importance of getting the vaccine
Mr Hancock will likely stress the importance that everyone comes forward for the vaccine once invited.
There is concern that some people feel uncomfortable with getting the vaccine.
Earlier this week, England’s chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam appeared on Good Morning Britain where he shared his thoughts on supposed mistrust in the vaccine.
Piers Morgan questions JVT one what people refusing to take the vaccine could mean for bringing and end to the pandemic.
He said: “What do we do about those people who simply don’t want to have it and in particular, given your background, what do you feel about people who work in the NHS or in care homes who are refusing to have the vaccine?”
JVT shared his thoughts on supposed mistrust in the vaccine and revealed that actually “we are constantly surprised that people are very accepting and ‘get it’”.
He said: “What I think I’d do is I’d chop that up again into people who have accepted it, people who just say ‘I am never having a vaccine in my life’.
“I wish they didn’t have that view but that is their view and there are a lot of people in the middle who are more likely to be in a position of ‘well, I’m just going to wait and see a bit longer.’
“But actually, the data doesn’t show that. The data shows well over 90 per cent in the over 80s, well over 90 per cent in the 75-79s, well over 90 per cent in the 70-74.
“As we come down the age groups we are constantly surprised that people are very accepting and ‘get it’.
“One thing this vaccine does according to the data is it breaks the link between you getting this and you ending up in hospital.”
On Thursday night Matt Hancock shared the Queen’s message encouraging people to get the vaccine.
The Queen has urged those people hesitant about the coronavirus jab to “think about others” and get vaccinated.
Sharing the message on Twitter Hancock said: “Important message from the Royal Family on why it’s vital that everyone gets the jab to help protect themselves and others.
Important message from @RoyalFamily on why it’s vital that everyone gets the jab to help protect themselves and others. https://t.co/8rHNDnZXtJ
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) February 25, 2021
Stay at home
Matt Hancock has insisted the Government must take a “cautious” approach to easing lockdown restrictions despite an accelerated target to offer coronavirus vaccines to all adults by the end of July.
Despite plans to ease lockdown in England the Health Secretary has urged the public to remain patient while allowing the vaccine rollout to provide further protection.
Mr Hancock told Sky News ahead of the road map announcement that while “all of us understandably want to get back to normal”, it is “right to be cautious – it is incredibly important”.
“The vaccination programme, whilst clearly going very well, will take time to be able to reach all people who have significant vulnerability, especially because we need to get the second jab to everybody.