All British adults will be offered a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by July 31, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.
“We will now aim to deliver a shot to every adult by the end of July, helping us protect the most vulnerable earlier, and take additional steps to ease some of the restrictions in place,” Johnson said, according to the BBC.
The July 31 date is a month earlier than the country’s previous target.
The government also said it plans to offer a first dose of the vaccine to all people over 50 by April 15.
The announcement comes a day before the government presented a plan to ease lockdown restrictions before Easter.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was confident the UK had the capacity to do so. “We now believe we have the supplies to do this,” he told Sky News on Sunday, adding that the UK can now immunize up to 500,000 people per day.
Labor shadow secretary for health Jonathan Ashworth called for prioritizing teachers, police and other essential workers in the vaccine rollout. But Hancock said: “There is no strong evidence that teachers are more likely to catch COVID than any other group.”
The UK has the highest vaccination rate in Europe and has administered more than 17.8 million doses since December.