Free supplies of Vitamin D will be distributed to more than 2.5 million people in England.

The plan was announced on November 28 and reported by the BBC and The Guardian. Both news organizations said the government would give the vitamin supplements to care homes and people on a "clinically extremely vulnerable list." People on the list would be sent a letter offering them home deliveries of the vitamin while the health supplement would be sent automatically to care homes.

Each person will be given a four-month supply and the deliveries will begin in January, according to the news organizations.

They said 2.7 million people were expected to receive the vitamin pills.

'The Sunshine Vitamin'

The Guardian noted that Vitamin D was often called "the sunshine vitamin" because a human body usually produced enough of its own Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight during the warm part of the year from late March to late September. However, the Coronavirus pandemic had driven people indoors, out of the sun, The Guardian and the BBC noted.

In normal winters, health officials advised people to take 10 micrograms of Vitamin D daily, the BBC said, adding that this was now especially important because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The BBC noted that similar instructions had been given by health officials in the other parts of the UK - Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Bones, Teeth, and Muscles Need Vitamin D

Vitamin D was important for maintaining healthy teeth, bones, and muscles, the BBC noted. Matt Hancock, secretary of health and social care, was quoted by The Guardian as saying that because of the virus "many of us...

could be deficient in Vitamin D." According to The Guardian, he also said the distribution of Vitamin D would help people "keep their bones and muscles healthy and, crucially reduce the pressure on our NHS (National Health Service)."

Those Vulnerable to Vitamin D Deficiency

Elderly people and people with a dark complexion were in need of more Vitamin D than their body could produce, the BBC noted.

Those most at risk for Vitamin D deficiency were people in care homes and people with a serious illness which had kept them indoors to minimize exposure to the coronavirus, the BBC said. Both The Guardian and the BBC said that people who could afford to start taking Vitamin D supplements were encouraged to do so now.