Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reiterated the importance of rolling out the vaccination programme for the country.

He acknowledged that the entire country is making huge sacrifices, and mentioned teachers and pupils coping with online learning, businesses bearing the brunt of successive lockdowns and NHS and care workers who are grappling with this new variant of coronavirus.

He said vaccines were key as figures show more than two per cent of the population is now infected – more than 1 million people in England, and with the number of new patients in hospitals in England now 40 per cent higher than April’s first peak.

He said vaccines have now been given to over 1.1million people in England and over 1.3million across the UK including more than 650,000 people over 80, which is 23 per cent of all the over 80s in England.

By February 15 the NHS is committed to offering the vaccine to the top four groups: Care home residents and staff, over-70s, frontline NHS and care staff and the clinically extremely vulnerable.