The under-30s will be able to sign up for their Covid jabs this week, the Health Secretary has said.
Matt Hancock announced that people in their 20s would begin receiving invitations to get inoculated within days as he urged people to get vaccinated as soon as they can.
He also signalled support for vaccinating secondary school pupils after the UK’s medicines regulator said the Pfizer jab was safe for children over 12-years-old.
Ministers are ramping up the vaccine programme to see off the threat of the new Delta variant – with latest evidence showing the strain is 40% more transmissible than the previously dominant Kent variant.
Mr Hancock said vaccines had “severed but not broken” the link between surging Covid cases and a rise in people being admitted to hospital.
“The majority of people going into hospital right now are unvaccinated,” he told Sky News.
“This week we will be opening up vaccines to the under-30s and so we are getting a step closer to the point when we have been able to offer the vaccine to all adults in this country.
“Then, once we have got everybody having had their second dose, then you will get this protection that we are seeing at the moment among older people, you’ll get that protection throughout the whole adult population.”
He did not give any further details on how the rollout would work but it has recently been moving down the age range by one year or two year increments.
Currently, people aged 30 and over can book a Covid jab.
Vaccinating secondary school pupils could have “upsides” for education, Mr Hancock said.
He said: “We’re taking advice currently from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI), the experts in this, on the right approach to putting this into practise.
“Now, of course, for the time being, as of today we are vaccinating people aged 30 and over, next week we’ll move to opening up vaccinations to the under-30s who are adults, so we have a few weeks yet until we come out with a plan for exactly how and if we take this forward.
“We know that the vaccine both protects you and helps you stop transmitting, and I want to protect education as much as anybody does … and so making sure that we don’t have those whole bubbles having to go home, especially as we saw over the autumn for instance, that has upsides for education.”
It comes as reports suggested that jabs could be rolled out to school children as early as August.
Officials are preparing for a roll-out of the Pfizer jab in schools at the start of the autumn term, the Telegraph reported.
More than half of people in England are now fully vaccinated, with more than 23 million people already getting both doses.
Some 33,525,485 people – more than three-quarters of the country’s adult population – have had their first jab.