Over-25s in England invited to come forward for Covid-19 vaccination from Tuesday

ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke explains the latest data on the Delta Covid variant

Adults in England aged 25-29 will be able to book their Covid-19 vaccine from Tuesday, the health secretary has announced.

Matt Hancock told MPs the vaccine remained the best way out of the pandemic, as doubts mount over the June 21 aim for the end of all restrictions in England.

Under-30s are the final cohort on the vaccine priority list.

Coronavirus: What you need to know - listen to the latest episode

Mr Hancock also urged schoolchildren to continue getting their coronavirus tests twice weekly, as pupils in England returned to the classroom after the half-term break on Monday.

It comes as numbers of cases have continued to rise as the Delta variant, first detected in India, becomes the dominant strain in the country.

Case rates are rising in more local areas of the UK than at any point since early January, with numbers increasing in almost all parts of north-west England, London and Scotland.

Mr Hancock said it was "too early to make decisions" on the final step in the roadmap.

"The roadmap has always been guided by the data and as before, we need four weeks between steps to see the latest data and a further week to give notice of our decision," he said.

An announcement on the data review is expected on June 14.

"The majority of people in hospital with Covid appear to be those who haven’t had the vaccine at all," he added.

Watch Matt Hancock's full address to the House of Commons

The health secretary said: "As of 3 June, our data show that of the 12,383 cases of the Delta variant, 464 went on to present at emergency care and 126 people were admitted to hospital.

"Of these 126 people, 83 were unvaccinated, 28 had received one dose and just three had received both doses of the vaccine."

From Tuesday, around three million more people in England will become eligible to book their first dose.

Students taking a coronavirus test at a school in Doncaster in March. Credit: PA

Mr Hancock told MPs: "From this week, we will start offering vaccinations to people under-30, bringing us ever closer to the goal of offering a vaccine to all adults in the UK by the end of next month.

"From tomorrow [Tuesday] morning, we will open up vaccination to people aged 25-29. Over the remainder of this week the NHS will send texts to people in these age groups and of course GPs will be inviting people on their lists to come forward."

What is the progress of the vaccine programme across the UK?

In Northern Ireland and most of Wales, all adults have already been called forward to get their vaccine.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the vaccine programme would be extended to over-18s across the country before next week.

People aged 18 to 29 in Scotland have been asked to register for their jab, with appointments starting in mid-June.

Alongside opening up appointments to younger age groups, the health service is pressing ahead with offering second doses in a race against the spread of variants.

Instead of waiting 12 weeks for their second dose, people are now being invited back for their second dose after eight weeks.