Elderly adults and those working in the homes have been placed in tier one in the proposed rundown of who should receive the first jabs.
People aged over 80, along with NHS and care workers, are in band two followed by those aged 75 and older in the third tier.
But the list could be upended by the logistics of storing the first vaccine to come on stream, it has already emerged.
Because the Pfizer/BioNtech jab – the only one so far assessed by watchdogs – has to be stored at -70C, it could be that it is given to NHS workers while plans for moving it into care homes are thrashed out.
The news comes as it emerged doctors at more than 1,000 GP sites being set up to administer the programme have been told the first doses could be available in just 10 days if the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency approve it for use.
The rest of the PHE priority list states the fourth band will include all those aged over 70, as well as all adults classed as clinically extremely vulnerable; the fifth will be for those aged over 65; and the sixth for all adults in at-risk groups.
Seventh will be all those aged 60 and over; eighth for those 55 and over; and ninth will be anyone aged over 50.
After that, it will be available for the wider population.
The list remains provisional but the government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation is due to publish an updated version next week which it is thought will remain almost unchanged.
The UK has ordered more than 350 million doses of vaccines, including 40 million from Pfizer/BioNtech. It is hoped five million will be delivered by Christmas.