Tens of thousands of people in this age group have already received a first dose, the government says, and the offer will be extended to all 16- and 17-year-olds by Monday 23 August.
The move aims to deliver protection against the virus to this age group before pupils return to school in September.
More than 47.3m people UK-wide have now received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine – around 90% of the total adult population, and more than three quarters of UK adults are fully vaccinated with two doses.
Estimates from Public Health England and Cambridge University suggest the COVID-19 vaccination programme has saved around 84,600 lives, and prevented 23.4m infections and 66,900 hospitalisations in England.
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘It is brilliant to see tens of thousands of young people have already received their vaccine – thank you for helping to further build our wall of defence against COVID-19 across the country.
‘I have asked the NHS in England to ensure they offer a first dose of the vaccine to everyone aged 16 and 17 by next Monday 23 August, this will make sure everybody has the opportunity to get vital protection before returning to college or sixth form.
Children aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 or who live with adults who are at increased risk of serious illness from the virus are also being contacted by the NHS and invited for their vaccine by 23 August, ahead of the new school year.
Data from Public Health England (PHE) show the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after two doses.
NHS medical director of primary care and deputy lead for the vaccination programme in England Dr Nikki Kanani said: ‘Thanks to the dedication and hard work of NHS staff, well over 39m people in England have already had their first jab, including more than a quarter of a million young people under the age of 18.’