Every adult over 18 in the UK will be offered a vaccine against coronavirus by autumn 2021, Matt Hancock has pledged.
Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, the health secretary also revealed more than 200,000 vaccines a day are being administered every day the UK.
He also insisted the government was on course to deliver its target of two million vaccines a week.
Hancock told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “The good news is that over the last week we’ve vaccinated more people than in the whole of December.”
But he accepted that to be effective, vaccines would have to be given to people in their 40s and 50s as well as the highest priority patients.
Asked if the UK would be able to vaccinate everybody by the autumn, he said: “Yes.”
“Every adult will be offered a vaccine by the autumn, absolutely. I totally agree it’s very, very important.”
Boris Johnson said last week that so far 1.5 million people have been vaccinated.
It comes after the Moderna vaccine was the third vaccine to be approved for use in the UK, after the Pfizer/BioNtech and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs were also backed by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Hancock said the government had ordered 350 million doses all in all.
The clinically vulnerable and health workers would get jabs first, he added.
He said: “Of course you’ve got to do it according to need, because someone in a care home is many, many times more likely to die if they catch coronavirus than someone like me in my 40s. But absolutely we’re going to offer the vaccine to everybody.
“We’ve got over 350 million doses on order, they’re not all here yet and we’re rolling them out as fast as they get delivered.
“But we’re going to have enough to offer everyone over the age of 18 one by the autumn.”
It means the government was on course to reach its target of 13 million people vaccinated by mid-February, Hancock also.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge: “Yes we’re on course. The rate limiting factor at the moment is supply but that’s increasing.
“I’m very glad to say that at the moment we’re running at over 200,000 people being vaccinated every day.
“We’ve now vaccinated around one third of the over-80s in this country so we’re making significant progress but there’s still further expansion to go.
“This week we’re opening mass vaccination centres. Big sites for instance at Epsom racecourse, there’s seven going live this week with more to come next week where we will get through very large numbers of people.”
Amid calls for teachers and police officers to be offered a vaccine earlier, Labour’s Keir Starmer said opening classrooms again did not need to be contingent on vaccinating teachers.
Hancock has previously said there is a “strong case” for vaccinating teachers earlier, but that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) would decide.
Starmer said: “We’d have to look at all the criteria but the most important thing is that vaccination programme.
“It is very difficult to see how we can start lifting restrictions in any meaningful way until the vaccine programme, at least that first part of it is rolled-out successfully.”
Pressed on whether reopening was contingent on inoculating teachers, he added: “No, I don’t know that it necessarily is, although if that can happen that would be a good thing.”