UK appoints vaccines minister to oversee COVID inoculations

LONDON (AP) — The British government has appointed a vaccines minister as it prepares to inoculate millions of people against the coronavirus. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Conservative lawmaker Nadhim Zahawi will oversee the country’s biggest vaccine program in decades. The U.K. medicines regulator is assessing two vaccines, one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. The Guardian newspaper reported Saturday that hospitals were told they could receive the first doses of the Pfizer shot the week of Dec. 7, if it receives approval. U.K. authorities have agreed to purchase up to 355 million doses of vaccine from seven different producers in a bid to vaccinate most of the country’s 67 million people.