(Alliance News) - The work of deploying a coronavirus vaccine will be for the UK Department of Health and be based on clinical advice from experts, Matt Hancock said.
The Health Secretary's comments came after the head of the country's vaccine taskforce said less than half of the UK population could be given a jab to protect against the virus.
Kate Bingham told the Financial Times that officials were hoping to be able to administer the medicine to around 30 million adults and "we just need to vaccinate everyone at risk". The UK has a population of around 67 million.
But when asked about her comments Hancock said his department would take advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Last month the JCVI said care home residents were among those who should be given the jab first, with healthy members of the public later vaccinated according to their age.
Towards the bottom of the list was all those aged 50 and over, followed by the rest of the population, with priority yet to be determined.
The JCVI said the "prioritisation could change substantially if the first available vaccines were not considered suitable for, or effective in, older adults".
Hancock told MPs in the Commons on Monday: "The vaccine taskforce has done incredibly important work in supporting the scientific development and manufacture of vaccines, and in procuring six different types of vaccine from around the world.
"The work of deploying a vaccine is for my department, working with the NHS and the armed forces, who are helping enormously with the logistical challenge.
"We will take the advice on the deployment of the vaccine based on clinical advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations."
Bingham had told the FT: "People keep talking about 'time to vaccinate the whole population' but that is misguided.
"There is going to be no vaccination of people under 18.
"It's an adult-only vaccine for people over 50 focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable."
When she was appointed as chairwoman of the vaccine taskforce in May she said an immediate aim was "to ensure everyone in the UK that needs to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can be as soon as practicable".
A government spokesperson said: "We want as many people as possible to access a Covid-19 vaccine and we are considering the advice of the independent Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation on which groups of people to prioritise.
"The committee's interim advice is the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.
"An enormous amount of planning and preparation has taken place across Government to quickly roll out a safe and effective vaccine."
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