PEOPLE aged over 50 and those that are vulnerable will get the second dose of a Covid vaccine a month earlier than planned.

Currently, government guidance says that a 12-week gap should be left between first and second doses of the Astra Zeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

But speaking at a press conference on Friday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that second doses will be accelerated for over 50s and vulnerable people.

He also added that planned easing of lockdown on Monday will go ahead as planned, but that a recent uptick in cases in certain areas including Bolton could make it "more difficult" to move to step four next month.

The rise in cases is being blamed on a variant of Covid first seen in India, known as B.1.617.2, that is "at least" as transmissable as the Kent variant that swept the country in December.

Meanwhile, England's chief medical officer said that vaccinating all adults in one particular area may lead to "a net disadvantage".

Professor Chris Whitty told a Downing Street briefing that the country had a "finite supply" of doses and they have a very high confidence it reduced deaths and severe illness, but less confidence it reduced transmission.

"The thing we know this vaccine can do is protect those most vulnerable.

"If we take vaccines away from groups in their late 30s and transfer it to those in their 20s, the majority view of the JCVI is that this would lead to a net disadvantage overall.

"The sensible thingis to prioritise the vaccine to those most at risk."

On the easing of lockdown measures, Mr Johnson said there was nothing in the data suggesting they needed to reverse lockdown easing measures due for Monday.

But he warned that the Indian coronavirus variant could “pose a serious disruption” and “could make it more difficult” to end restrictions as hoped in June.

He told the Downing Street press conference: “I do not believe that we need, on the present evidence, to delay our road map and we will proceed with our plan to move to step three in England from Monday.

“But I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it more difficult to move to step four in June.”

He also said that if the Indian variant proves to be “significantly more transmissible” than other strains “we’re likely to face some hard choices”.

The Prime Minister added: “I’m told that if it is only marginally more transmissible we can continue more or less as planned but if the variant is significantly more transmissible we’re likely to face some hard choices.”

But he said there is “no evidence to suggest that our vaccines will be less effective in protecting people against severe illness and hospitalisation”.