All British adults will be offered a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by July 31, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday.
“We will now aim to offer a jab to every adult by the end of July, helping us protect the most vulnerable sooner, and take further steps to ease some of the restrictions in place,” Johnson said, according to the BBC.
The July 31 date is a month earlier than the country’s previous target.
The government also said it planned to offer a first vaccine dose to everyone over 50 by April 15.
The announcement comes a day before the government is expected to present a plan to ease lockdown restrictions ahead of Easter.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was confident the U.K. had the capacity to deliver. “We now think that we have the supplies to be able to do that,” he told Sky News on Sunday, adding that the U.K. can now inoculate up to 500,000 people per day.
Labour’s shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth called for teachers, police officers and other essential workers to be given priority in the vaccine rollout. But Hancock said: “There isn’t strong evidence that teachers are more likely to catch COVID than any other group.”
The U.K. has the highest vaccination rate in Europe, and has administered more than 17.8 million doses since December.