International organizations have warned that rich countries will not acquire a large proportion of the doses expected to be produced from coronavirus vaccines, saying that this will deprive those living in poor countries of access to them.
The people's Alliance for vaccines, which includes organizations including Amnesty International and Oxfam, said that nearly 70 countries, with low incomes, would only be able to vaccinate one in 10 people.
The warning comes despite a pledge by vaccine manufacturer Oxford-AstraZeneca to provide 64% of its doses to citizens of developing countries.
Steps are being taken to ensure fair distribution of vaccines worldwide. An international coalition known simply as Kovacs has secured 700 million doses of vaccines for distribution to 92 low-income countries.
But U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an executive order prioritizing Americans ' access to any vaccine produced in the United States.
An analysis by the people's Alliance for vaccines found that rich countries had purchased enough doses of vaccines to vaccinate all their populations three times if all were approved for use.
Canada, for example, has requested enough vaccines to vaccinate every Canadian five times, the coalition says.
The Canadian authorities gave the green light to the use of the Pfizer-biontek vaccine. It is anticipated that the Canada shipment of approximately two hundred and fifty thousand doses this month.
And although rich countries account for only 14% of the world's population, they have bought 53% of the approved vaccines so far, according to data for eight vaccines in Phase III trials.
Said Anna Marriott, director of Health Policy at Oxfam: "it should not prevent anyone from getting the vaccine a life-saving because of the country in which they live or because of the amount of money in your pocket".
"Unless something changes dramatically, billions of people around the world will not receive a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine for years to come,"she added.
The Alliance urged all pharmaceutical companies working to produce covid-19 vaccines to share their research and intellectual property so that billions of additional doses can be manufactured and made available to everyone who needs them.
The Pfizer-biontek vaccine has already received approval in Britain, and vaccinations began this week. It is likely to get the vaccine for regulatory approval in the United States and Europe soon.
How will the "coronavirus vaccine" reach seven billion people around the world?
Two other vaccines, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca, are awaiting official approval in a number of countries.
The alliance says that so far, rich countries have received all the expected doses of the Moderna vaccine and 90% of the doses of the Pfizer-biontek vaccine.
AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of the vaccine developed by Oxford University, is committed to making it available on a non-profit basis to the developing world.
It is expected to be cheaper than other types, and can be stored at refrigerator temperatures, which facilitates its distribution around the world.
The alliance welcomed the move, but said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would probably reach only 18% of the world's population next year."