The four priority groups that will be vaccinated first include: residents and staff in care homes, people over 70, frontline health and social care workers and anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
This will then be extended through to the end of April to vaccinate the rest of the higher risk groups, including anyone over the age of 50 and those over 16 with underlying health conditions.
NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens told MPs the vaccine programme would involve two “sprints” and a “marathon”.
He told the Commons Public Accounts Committee: "This is a sprint to mid-February (to vaccinate the four highest priority groups) and then it will be a sprint from mid-February through to the end of April to extend the vaccination to the rest of the higher risk groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
"Then it will be a marathon from April through the summer into the autumn… where we are offering everybody in the country who wants it, over the age of 18 for whom the vaccines are authorised, that jab."
All adults not included in the priority groups who wish to take the vaccine will have access through the summer, which will see a large number of residents in the UK either fully vaccinated or having taken their first vaccine by the end of the summer.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pleaded with the public to follow coronavirus rules and reduce all social contact that is not "absolutely" necessary.
He told a Downing Street press conference that the new variant of coronavirus is "highly contagious and it is putting the NHS under very significant pressure".
Mr Hancock echoed England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty in saying "we’re at the worst point in this pandemic".
Matt Hancock said he wanted Britons to "have that great British summer" and for life to return to normal "as fast possible" as he outlined details of the vaccine rollout.
The Health Secretary said two-fifths of over 80s and "almost a quarter of older care home residents" have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.