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Store workers are set to be at the front of the queue for coronavirus vaccinations, business minister Nadim Zahawi has said.

Mr Zahawi insisted retail staff should join police officers and teachers as a “top priority” for vaccinations when the second stage of the mass rollout begins.

The news comes as doctors are reportedly vaccinating 140 people per minute on average across the country.

He also announced the use of 24 hour vaccination centres will be piloted at hospitals in London before the end of the month.

In many parts of the country the first phase of vaccinations – which targeted people classed as extremely clinically vulnerable, the over 80s and people in care homes – has now been largely completed.

The Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation – a panel of medical experts which is advising the No 10 on the rollout – will now meet to discuss who else should be included in Phase Two.

Mr Zahawi said: “My instinct is to say anyone who through no fault of their own has to come into contact with the virus in much greater volume and probability should be protected.

“Teachers, policemen and women, shop workers, all those who need that additional protection. If you work in a job which brings you into contact with the virus unfairly then you should be protected.”

Matt Hancock last week announced that store workers were being considered as a priority for the vaccination because their jobs put them at a higher risk of catching the virus.

He said: “We’ll look at, of course, teachers and police and others, but also we will look at shop workers and we will make those decisions based on the data.”

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