Matt Hancock told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme that vaccines had “severed but not broken” the link between a rise in cases and an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital.
“The majority of people going into hospital right now are unvaccinated,” the senior Government minister said.
“This week we will be opening up vaccines to the under-30s and so we are getting a step closer to the point when we have been able to offer the vaccine to all adults in this country.
“Then, once we have got everybody having had their second dose, then you will get this protection that we are seeing at the moment among older people, you’ll get that protection throughout the whole adult population.
“That way, we can get out of this and restore our freedoms. But the timing of exactly when we can take that step is the big question.”
On Saturday, the Government said a further 5,765 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus had been recorded in the UK, with cases up 70 per cent in just one week.
Mr Hancock has said the Government is “not saying no June 21” but that it’s “too early” to determine whether it will be possible to lift all legal restrictions from then.
He also confirmed that the so-called Delta mutation is around 40 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant.
“That means that it is more difficult to manage this virus with the new Delta variant,” he told Sky.
“But crucially, after two doses of vaccine we are confident that you get the same protection that you did with the old variant.
“So the good news is that the vaccine still works just as effectively.
“Everybody must go and get their second jab though because the first isn’t as effective on its own.
“So ultimately it does make the calculation more difficult for June 21 but it doesn’t change our strategy which is we all need to go and get vaccinated and that way we will break this link between the number of cases to the number of hospitalisations.”