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The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed across the U.K. starting January 4 if it is approved, according to a report by the Sunday Telegraph.
The British government has set a goal of vaccinating two million people within two weeks of starting distribution.
The plan includes doses from either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, according to the Telegraph.
FILE – In this Saturday, July 18, 2020 file photo a general view of AstraZeneca offices and the corporate logo in Cambridge, England. AstraZeneca says late-stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine were "highly effective” in preventing disease. A vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford prevented 70% of people from developing the coronavirus in late-stage trials, the team reported Monday Nov. 23, 2020.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
The Oxford vaccine is expected to be approved by the U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency within the next few days.
The first trials of the Oxford vaccine found that it was less effective than the already-approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which reported 95% and 94.5% effectiveness so far.
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AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot boosted hopes for the vaccine, promising to publish a paper that described how the vaccine works with two doses.
"We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else," Soriot told the Sunday Times.
The Department of Health, however, said that regulators must be given time to carry out its review the results of the Oxford vaccine.
"We must now give the MHRA the time to carry out its important work and we must wait for its advice," a Health Department spokeswoman told Reuters.
The rising number of hospitalizations across the country, partially due to a variant that reportedly spreads 70% faster than previous variants of the coronavirus.
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In a leaked memo, NHS Medical Director Steve Powis ordered hospitals to be on high alert regarding the new variant and South African strain.
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