Vitamin D is necessary for a healthy immune system, leading experts to question whether it can help reduce the risk or severity of coronavirus.
Nursing homes across England will automatically receive the supplement for their residents, according to plans revealed on Saturday.
Those classified as extremely vulnerable clinically will have the opportunity to participate in the program in order to obtain a supply for their own home.
Shipments of a four-month supply of vitamin D will begin in January.
Everyone should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day between October and March, according to Public Health England, which stresses the importance of the elderly, those who don’t go out or those with dark skin who take it.
Most people should be able to get vitamin D on a regular basis from natural sunlight between March and September, but during the rest of the year, many people don’t get enough.
There are also concerns that due to lockdowns triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people a higher risk of deficiency.
Those paying the supplement are advised to take it now, even if they are entitled to the free service.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Due to the incredible sacrifices the British people have made to control the virus, many of us have spent more time indoors this year and may be lacking in vitamin D .
“The government is taking action to ensure that vulnerable people can access a free supply to make them last through the darker winter months.
“It will support their overall health, keep their bones and muscles healthy and crucially reduce the pressure on our NHS. ”
Research is underway to determine whether or not there is links between COVID-19 and vitamin D, including a project at Queen Mary University in London, which is looking to see whether correcting a vitamin D deficiency can reduce the risk or severity of the virus or any other respiratory infection.
Mr Hancock commissioned the research “to make sure we explore all potential opportunities to beat this virus”.