Matt Hancock has said evidence shows that “to nobody’s surprise” people do not want to be vaccinated in the middle of the night.
Hospitals in London have piloted 24-hours a day vaccinations after Boris Johnson told the Commons at the start of January that round-the-clock jabs would be rolled out “as soon as we can”.
Labour demanded 24/7 vaccinations be deployed in order to speed up the programme.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Wednesday, Hancock said the vaccine rollout was “going well”.
Government data up to February 1 showed of the 10,143,511 jabs given in the UK so far, 9,646,715 were first doses — a rise of 350,348 on the previous day’s figures.
Asked whether 24/7 vaccinations were needed, the health secretary said: “Some hospitals did do 24-hour jabbing and they did that in order to ensure their night shifts got the protection.
“But we have discovered, perhaps to nobody’s surprise, that people tend to want to have the jab during the day, and those who are doing the vaccinations prefer to do it during the day, so, since what you need to do is you need a vaccinator and the vaccine and the person being vaccinated, getting those three together during the day is more convenient than overnight.
Hancock added: “So we have done 24-hour vaccinations. The rate-limiting factor is not the ability for the NHS to get this delivered, the rate-limiting factor is supply.
“We will do anything to make sure that the supply is delivered into people’s arms as fast as safely possible, including 24-hour supply.”
It comes after a study showed a single dose of the Oxford vaccine may reduce transmission of coronavirus by two thirds.
The finding provided a major boost to the government’s recommendation that the second jab should be delayed for up to 12 weeks.
Researchers said that the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab offers protection of 76% up to three months and may reduce transmission by 67% — with efficacy rising to 82.4% after the second dose 12 weeks later.
The data from the study by the University of Oxford, which has not yet been peer reviewed, supports the four- to 12-week prime-boost dosing interval that many global regulators, including the UK’s, have recommended.
Before these results, little was known about how effective the Covid-19 vaccines were at preventing transmission of the disease.
The findings indicate that those who have been vaccinated are not only protected from the disease, but that they are not likely to pass on the virus to anyone.