Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that one in three of all adults have now had a coronavirus vaccine.

And speaking at a Downing Street press conference, he revealed who will get the vaccine next, once everybody aged 50 and over has received a jab.

As previously announced, the over-50s are all due to be vaccinated by April 15. Mr Hancock said the Government has now decided that people will then be vaccinated in this order:

1) People aged 40 to 49

2) People aged 30 to 39

3) People aged 18 to 29

The Government has rejected calls to put certain public sector workers, such as police officers and teachers, at the front of the queue. He said that scientists have advised that the way to save the most lives is simply to vaccinate people based on age.

He said: “This is the fastest and simplest way to roll out the jab. Our moral duty is to put saving lives first, and that is what we’ve done.”

The aim is to offer every adult a vaccination by July 31.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned there was evidence people were beginning to break lockdown rules. He urged: “Do not wreck this now. We are so close”.

The key points at the press conference were:

1) The Government has accepted the recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that people aged 49 to 18 should be vaccinated in age order

2) Mr Hancock said: “Our current target is to get a first dose offered to everybody in the top nine priority groups by April 15.” That includes everyone aged 50 and over.

3) Vaccination of people under 50 begins after April 15.

4) Very few people are turning down the vaccine. Mr Hancock said: “I’m very pleased to be able to tell you that today’s data … shows 94% of adults saying they have either received the jab or they intend to do so.”

5) In some areas of the country, infection rates have stopped falling. One in five local authority areas has seen a rise in cases in the past week.

6) The Government is worried about people breaking the rules. Mr Hancock said: “This stark picture shows that this isn’t over yet. The stay at home rules are still in pace for a reason. Every action that you take, every time you put your mask on, every time you stay at home, you are playing your part.

“This is still a deadly virus. We will get through this but we have to stay vigilant.”

7) As of this morning 19 million people in this country have had the vaccine. 35% of all adults in the UK. That includes half a million people who had doses yesterday.

Mr Hancock said: “We know that the jabs are saving lives right now across the country”. But he also said the vaccination programme is “one of the fastest in the world” but “we are not there yet”.

How the next round of vaccinations will work

The first round involves vaccinating everybody aged 50 and over, as well as health and care home workers and people who have a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to infection.

Ministers have decided that in the second round, when people under 50 are vaccinated, the order will be decided purely by age, with the oldest going first. That means people age 40 to 49.

It’s caused controversy, with critics saying some public sector workers should move to the front of the queue. That could include teachers and police officers, who may have more contact with other people and therefore are more in danger of catching coronavirus.

But the Government is following the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, a group of scientists, which says vaccinations should simply be determined by age.

It means that after April 15 – if the Government succeeds in meeting this target to vaccinate everyone over 50 – vaccines will be administered in this order.

1) People aged 40 to 49

2) People aged 30 to 39

3) People aged 18 to 29

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for the JCVI, told a press briefing that age “remains a dominant factor – it is still one of the most important causes of severe disease, even in those aged 50 years and below”.

He said that even within different occupations, it was older people who are more at risk than those who are younger.

Reacting to the news, the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said it was a “deep and damaging betrayal” which “will not be forgotten”.

John Apter told the PA news agency: “There’s real palpable anger from all levels within policing about how we have been completely disregarded and ignored in this phase.

“What is expected of policing does put them at risk. It does put them at risk of transmitting this virus.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union Naht, said school teams “often occupy confined and unventilated spaces for long periods of time with only rudimentary PPE (personal protective equipment).

“The fact that it may have added some complexity to rollout is not a good enough reason not to prioritise the needs of committed professionals.”

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But several scientists backed the move, with Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, saying: “We know that these vaccines are good at protecting from serious disease, and the likelihood of that increases with age.

“Therefore, continuing to target vaccine rollout according to disease risk makes sense, especially if this simplifies the rollout process.”

A total of 16,785,841 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and February 25, according to provisional NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 448,280 on the previous day’s figures.

Of this number, 16,227,104 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 432,112 on the previous day, while 558,737 were a second dose, an increase of 16,168.

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