Matt Hancock is due to give a Downing Street press conference today confirming when under-50s will get the Covid vaccine.
The Health Secretary is expected to speak this evening after jab priority groups are unveiled by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The JCVI are set to confirm their long-awaited recommendations for what order 21million healthy UK adults under 50 – who start being vaccinated in mid-April – should get the jab.
It is thought the JCVI are likely to recommend the government works down through age groups – for example, all those in their 40s, followed by all those in the 30s, and so on.
While ministers can choose to defy the JCVI advice, a senior government source told the Mirror it is likely to be accepted.
That suggests key workers like teachers will not be given special priority – and will just have to wait until their age group comes up.
That could anger teachers’ unions and Labour, who had demanded priority for teachers as schools return in England from March 8.
But David Salisbury, a former Director of Immunisation for the government, told the BBC he backed the age-based approach because it was the quickest way to get first doses into arms.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’d hate to think vaccine gets wasted because there are not people to match every dose.”
He added: “The logical prioritisation is to use age which is so much more demonstrable than saying ‘my job is this or my job is that.
“So whilst I do have a view that some occupations may justify some prioritisation, logistically the straightforward way to do it is through an age-based approach.”
Some 18.7million UK adults have now received their first dose of the Covid vaccine.
In England, the NHS says it has given first doses to 94.3% of over-80s, 100.3% of 75-79s, 94.4% of 70-74s, 75.3% of 65-69s and 15.9% of under-65s.
One figure is over 100% because the NHS is relying on population estimates which are not completely accurate.
The jab has also gone to 96.4% of frontline NHS staff, 89.4% of the clinically extremely vulnerable and 89.6% of older care home residents.
But it has only gone to 69.1% of care staff – prompting fears and warnings that firms could refuse to hire staff who have not had the jab.
All over-50s and “at risk” groups – 32million people – are due to have at least their first dose by mid-April, after which the remaining 21million UK adults will start getting the jab.
But the rate of the rollout could slow as the NHS starts having to give millions of second doses per week from the end of March.