Asked if he would be prepared to be among the first people to be vaccinated, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: “If I could, rightly and morally, be at the very front of the queue then I would do so.
“Because I absolutely trust the judgment of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) on safety and efficacy.
“But that clearly isn’t right – we have to target the most highest risk individuals in society.
“But let me say to you this, I think the ‘mum test’ is very important here.
“My mum is 78, she’ll be 79 shortly, and I’ve already said to her, ‘Mum, make sure when you’re called you’re ready, be ready to take this up, this is really important for you because of your age’.”
Care homes, NHS and social care staff, and then elderly people are set to be prioritised for vaccination.
Prof Van-Tam said that people should not be able to jump the queue by paying privately for a vaccine.
He added: “I think these vaccines need to be prioritised to those who need them, not those who can afford to pay for them privately.”
He warned: “We don’t yet know if this vaccine is going to prevent transmission as well as preventing illness, and from that perspective it would be wrong of me to give you a sense that whoever told you that we’d be completely back to normal for Easter is right.”
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said: “In phase two of the programme it’s likely that we’ll prioritise individuals who may suffer because of the need for hospitalisation because of Covid or of long Covid.
“The reason it’s not been decided is because we need to also balance the possible prioritisation of individuals who are transmitting Covid instead.”
Care home residents and their carers, of which there are thought to be about 1.1million, are first on the priority list and are expected to be inoculated by the end of the year.