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Solving COVID

U.K. regulator reportedly expected to greenlight Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this week

The United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is preparing to approve the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca at some point next week, The Telegraph and The Times report.

British ministers are reportedly drawing up plans to roll out the vaccine by Jan. 4. The U.K. has already approved and administered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the government reportedly wants 2 million people to receive either shot within two weeks in the hopes of easing intense lockdowns across the country prompted by a new coronavirus variant that may be more transmissible.

There have been discrepancies in the Oxford-AstraZeneca trials when it comes to the vaccine's efficacy, though it's considered safe. New data reportedly suggests the candidate ultimately proved to be as effective as the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which registered above 90 percent, but some experts remain skeptical. Tim O'Donnell