All over-18s can book their Covid vaccination from Friday, Matt Hancock has announced.
The health secretary said vaccinations would be opened to 18 to 21 year-olds for the first time as part of efforts to jab more people ahead of the delayed final lifting of restrictions on July 19.
Hancock told the NHS Confed Conference: “As of this afternoon we have given a first dose of vaccine to four out of every five adults in the United Kingdom.
“And the speed of deployment means that tomorrow we can open vaccination to everyone over the age of 18.
“I think it’s an incredible achievement on the vaccination side.”
NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens first revealed the plan to extend the vaccination programme on Tuesday after Boris Johnson pushed back so-called “freedom day” by four weeks.
Stevens said the health service wanted to “finish the job” of vaccinating people over the next month, telling the NHS Confederation conference: “It is now very important that we use the next four weeks to finish the job to the greatest extent possible for the Covid vaccination programme.”
The prime minister on Monday said the government aimed to offer all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable their second dose by July 19.
As part of these efforts, all over-40s will also be offered a shorter waiting time between their two doses, with the gap cut from eight weeks from twelve.
People from younger age groups have also reported being able to bring their second doses forward to around eight weeks after their first, using the NHS website.