The UK will be ready to start vaccinations as early as next month - if they pass approval of the regulator.

This was the latest news from health secretary Matt Hancock in this evening's press briefing.

Mr Hancock said Pfizer and BioNTech are submitting an emergency authorisation request for use, after phase three trials found it to be 95 per effective.

The UK has already ordered enough of the vaccine to treat 20 million people but it has not yet been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which will have to assess its suitability.

However, Mr Hancock said: "If the regulator approves a vaccine we will be ready to start the vaccinations next month, with the bulk of the rollout in the new year.

"We're heading in the right direction but there's still a long way to go."

He warned that the rollout would be a "massive logistical challenge" - not least because it needs to be stored at -70 degrees centigrade - but added: "I know the NHS can do it."

Vaccination hubs will be set up in hospitals for NHS staff and in the new year it was hoped there would a community rollout in the new year via GP surgeries, with additional vaccination sites and hospital hubs.

A member of the public asked whether Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups would be given any degree of priority for the vaccination, after NHS staff, elderly and those with pre-existing conditions were vaccinated, due to data showing that people in this demographic were three to four times more like to die from the virus than those from white ethnicity.

However, Mr Hancock said scientists from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation believed the most important determining factor was age, and the need to protect those looking after the most vulnerable - those in the NHS and healthcare staff.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, said "far and away the biggest risk factor for the likelihood of a bad outcome from Covid-19 is age", followed by comorbidities, or chronic illnesses.

He added: "We do know a very significant proportion of the unfortunate but true signal we see in black and ethnic minority groups is driven by the presence of comorbidities that occur at an earlier age."

He said the first rollout of the virus would largely be targeting people with underlying risk conditions, adding that people coming forward when they're called and a high uptake was "critically important" to its success.

Mr Hancock also said that 12 million people have been vaccinated for flu this year - a record number - and that the Government was now opening up free flu jabs to all over 50s from December 1.

GP surgeries will be contacting people, so there is no need to call them.