All over-18s are now being invited to book an appointment for a Covid-19 jab in Northern Ireland and Wales.
Last week, Wales became the first country in the UK to extend the offer to all over-18s, with Cardiff University Health Board saying it had booked appointments for all adults to have their vaccination before the end of this month.
And data from Public Health Wales showed that over half (52%) of 18-29-year-olds have already taken up the offer of a first dose across the country.
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland said all adults in the country were now able to get a vaccine from today (Thursday 27 May) in a move that was ahead of schedule.
In line with the latest JCVI advice, anyone aged under 40 can book their vaccination at a Trust centre to receive the Pfizer vaccine, a statement said.
Limitations on vaccine supplies means that 20,000 vaccination slots would be opened initially with additional slots released every Thursday morning for anyone still waiting, the Department of Health said.
More than one million people in Northern Ireland have now had the vaccine with 40% having had two doses, the Department said.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: ‘I am delighted that our vaccination programme is now open to all adults in Northern Ireland. I know this will be very welcome news for young people who have been waiting patiently for their turn to get the jab.
‘The tremendous success of the vaccination programme has brought great hope and has helped to enable the recent further easing of restrictions.
‘The expansion of the vaccination programme, well ahead of schedule, to everyone aged 18 and over is testament to the hard work and dedication of all those involved in delivering the vaccine throughout Northern Ireland.’
Chief medical officer, Dr Michael McBride, added that while the risk of severe disease is lower in young people, it was important to understand that some may become very ill can pass on the virus to others who may be more vulnerable.
‘We’re dealing with the emergence of new variants and we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe.’
In England and Scotland, the vaccine is currently available for anyone over the age of 30 years.
In the UK overall 72.9% of the population have had a first dose and 44.8% a second dose of Covid vaccine.