The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be given to Brits on Tuesday, an NHS boss has said. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the immunisation process will be ‘a marathon, it’s not a sprint’.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘We’re looking forward to the race starting on Tuesday.’

It comes as the first doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech jabs arrived in the UK for distribution yesterday.

The country has ordered 40 million doses of the drug enough to vaccinate 20 million people with two doses, given 21 days apart.

The drug, manufactured in Belgium, was transported via the Channel Tunnel. It has to be stored at -70C. Mr Hopson added hospitals are currently working out how many care home residents, care home staff and over-80s they can get to.

‘Each one of those groups has a different set of characteristics in terms of the logistical difficulty of doing the vaccination,’ he said.

But the injections will initially only be offered in hospitals due to the storage and transportation limitation.

Tory frontbencher Lord Bethell told peers ‘an enormous army’ of people had been mobilised to administer doses of the vaccine, including NHS staff, pharmacists and retired healthcare workers.

Lorry loads of the jab are also on their way to the devolved nations ready for next week’s rollout.