Who would be the first to get a Covid-19 vaccine?

Updated 20 Jul 2020

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Several wealthy countries have already ordered millions of doses of those experimental vaccines. — AFP/File
Several wealthy countries have already ordered millions of doses of those experimental vaccines. — AFP/File

Who would be the first to get a Covid-19 vaccine? Probably people in the country where the first effective vaccine is developed.

About a dozen different vaccines are in various stages of testing worldwide, including in Britain, China and the United States. This week, Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said he is cautiously optimistic there will be a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year or early 2021.

Several wealthy countries have already ordered millions of doses of those experimental vaccines.

Britain and the US, for example, have invested in a vaccine candidate being developed by Oxford University and produced by AstraZeneca. If it works, UK politicians have said Britons will be vaccinated with it. The US expects to start stockpiling it this fall and also has invested in other vaccine candidates.

Earlier this month, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to guarantee the supply to the European Union of 300 million doses of a possible coronavirus vaccine.

Groups including the vaccine alliance GAVI are also working to buy doses for poor countries and AstraZeneca has agreed to license its vaccine to India's Serum Institute for the production of one billion doses. The World Health Organisation is drafting guidelines for the ethical distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

How vaccines are distributed within a country will vary. Last week, US officials said they were developing a tiered system for that. The system would likely prioritise groups at greatest risk of severe complications from Covid-19 and key workers.