The Government is now aiming for all adults in the UK to have been offered their first Covid jab by the end of July.
Announcing the new plan, which brings the deadline forward from the end of September, Mr Johnson said he wants to ‘see the rollout go further and faster in the coming weeks’.
He said this comes as ‘more than 17.5 million people’ have now had a vaccination, ‘more than one in three adults in the UK’.
The news comes as Mr Johnson will set out the Government’s plan for a roadmap out of lockdown in England later today.
The roadmap will outline four steps for easing restrictions, and ‘before proceeding to the next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous easements’, Number 10 said.
They include the continued successful deployment of the vaccine programme; evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths; infection rates not risking a surge in hospitalisations that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS; and new variants of concern not fundamentally changing that risk assessment.
The lockdown easing will see socialising in outdoor settings return sooner than indoor settings, as this is ‘safer’, the Government said.
The Prime Minister said: ‘Today I’ll be setting out a roadmap to bring us out of lockdown cautiously. Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.
‘Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.’
‘We have therefore set four key tests which must be met before we can move through each step of the plan.’
The BMA last week warned the Government not to lift lockdown measures until the virus is ‘near eliminated’.