THE Covid vaccination programme will be rolled out to the next age group, the health secretary Matt Hancock has today said.

Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Mr Hancock confirmed those aged 37 and over would be offered the Covid jab.

Saying that they would be eligible for their first dose from tomorrow, Mr Hancock discussed the impact of the Indian variant on cases in the country.

It came as the health secretary was tipped to announce a delay in easing of all restrictions on June 21 - which was not mentioned in his statement.

Making a statement to MPs, Mr Hancock confirmed the total number of new Covid cases that were deemed the Indian variant.

He said: There’s now 2,323 confirmed cases of B.1617.2 in the UK – 483 of these cases have been seen in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, where it’s now the dominant strain.

“Cases there have doubled in the last week and are rising in all age groups.

“In Blackburn, hospitalisations are stable with eight people currently in hospital with Covid, and in Bolton 19 people are now in hospital with coronavirus – the majority of whom are eligible for a vaccine but haven’t yet had a vaccine.

“This shows the new variant is not tending to penetrate into older, vaccinated groups and it underlines again the importance of getting the jab especially – but not only – amongst the vulnerable age groups.”

Addressing the vaccine rollout, Mr Hancock said people aged 37 will be offered the vaccine from Tuesday and this will be expanded further “later in the week”.

Mr Hancock told the Commons: “The data suggests that the vaccine has already saved over 12,000 lives and prevented over 33,000 people from being hospitalised.

“We are protecting people at a very rapid pace. Last week was the biggest week of vaccinations since the end of March.

"36 million people have now had a first dose and yesterday we reached the milestone of 20 million people having had their second dose across the UK.

“I am delighted to see the figures released by YouGov today which show that the UK has the highest vaccination enthusiasm in the world – with 90 per cent of people saying that they have had or will have the jab.”

The Health Secretary continued: “From tomorrow, I can confirm that we will be inviting people aged 37 to come forward before expanding this further later in the week."