People aged as young as 40 could be in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine in just a few weeks, reports suggest.
Advisers are said to prefer continuing to offer jabs on the basis of age, rather than prioritising key workers, once the over-50s have had their jabs.
And this could mean age brackets are widened, giving Britons aged 40 to 49 the chance to be inoculated once the top nine groups have first doses.
The rollout is currently focused on all over-65s as well as adults aged 16-64 with health conditions that place them at greater risk.
Within weeks, it will move to the final three priority groups identified already by the government – the over-60s, over-55s and over-50s.
On current trends, the top nine cohorts – an estimated 32million people – could be vaccinated by March 24 if current rates continue.
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This would mean the over-40s being invited for a jab in less than five weeks, reports the Daily Mail.
Meanwhile Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said on Thursday that more lives would be saved by targeting age groups than any other factor, meaning it should remain the dominant consideration in determining vaccine priority.
Such acceleration of the vaccine project could also add more pressure on Boris Johnson to relax the strict lockdown rules.
The Prime Minister is set to announce the roadmap for loosening restrictions on February 22.
Vaccine data analysing how well the jabs are cutting transmission, serious illness and deaths will play a pivotal role in the speed of his unlocking.
It is thought that schools will be the first to reopen on March 8, followed by the gradual easing of rules.
Nearly 17million people have received coronavirus vaccines across Britain to date.
And while the age of those being offered the jab is lowering, there is still concern that some communities are not taking up the chance.
A host of celebrities appeared in a star-studded advert earlier tonight urging ethnic minorities to receive the coronavirus vaccine when offered.
Actress Shobna Gulati and comedian Romesh Ranganathan are among the famous faces who signed up for the moving TV spot.
Statistics show that many black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups are still unlikely to say yes to the jab.
The advert, which aired across all major commercial broadcasters at 9:56pm, was organised by actor and writer Adil Ray OBE.
Makers anticipated that the video would reach around 10million people across all channels.
Mr Ray said: “It’s heartening to see all the major broadcasters come together in an equally unprecedented television broadcast at this crucial time.
“We must all engage and encourage one another to do the right thing. The message is simple; take the vaccine, save lives.”
Data suggests people from black and south Asian backgrounds are more likely to die from coronavirus than white people.
A further 454 people died from coronavirus on Thursday, according to official figures.