Giving Compass' Take:

• Britain and the United States are both making progress working on a vaccine development portfolio that accounts for equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine once it's ready. 

• How can donors play a role in helping expand vaccine accessibility? 

• Read more about vaccine development and access. 

Britain will buy potential COVID-19 vaccines from U.S. drugmakers Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Novavax Inc (NVAX.O), the companies said on Friday, boosting the number of deals it has with drugmakers as the global vaccine race rages on.

Britain and the United States are in the lead with six vaccine deals with drugmakers each, as companies and governments worldwide work overtime to find a vaccine against the pandemic disease.

The latest agreements bring Britain’s total number of doses secured to 340 million, with options for millions more, for a population of 66 million.

Britain said both vaccines could be available by the middle of next year for priority groups, such as such as frontline health and social care workers, ethnic minorities, adults with serious diseases, and the elderly.

The deals cover a wide range of vaccine types currently in development for COVID-19, as Britain seeks to hedge its bets should one or more of the technologies prove ineffective.

“For now that is probably the bedrock of the portfolio. We basically need to see now, what we want to add, if anything, immediately that could diversify the sorts of vaccine that we’ve got in the hopper now,” Kate Bingham, chair of UK Vaccine Taskforce, told Reuters.

“I think we’re well placed... but I think we need to see the data of some of these early vaccines first before we know what is likely to be protective and what is not.”

Read the full article about vaccine accessibility by Alistair Smout, Josephine Mason at Reuters.