The Irish scientist leading the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine has warned that most people will not get the much sought-after jab when it is first discovered, claiming that it will be very difficult to meet the initial demand for the vaccine. 

Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, is leading a team of researchers in the search for a vaccine and said that difficult decisions would have to be made once the vaccine is found. 

Hill said that there would have to be a discussion "about who gets it first" once the vaccine gets the green light. 

"There is not going to be enough for everyone in the world a month later [after the vaccine is approved] because it takes longer to manufacture than that," Hill told the Irish Independent. 

Read more: Irish scientist's coronavirus vaccine could be ready by September

He pointed out that there would be "great demand" for the vaccine once it gets approval and said that he couldn't predict when supply would catch up with demand. 

Hill said that decision-makers and health officials would be left with a difficult decision about which group of vulnerable people will first receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Professor Adrian Hill is leading the Oxford team in the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: University of Oxford

Professor Adrian Hill is leading the Oxford team in the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: University of Oxford

The Irish scientist's Oxford team is currently leading the race to find a vaccine and published very positive results from the first phase of its clinical trials on Monday. 

The Oxford vaccine appears to offer test subjects "double protection" against the coronavirus by building up the appropriate antibodies and T-cells, while early results indicate that there are no harmful side effects associated with the vaccine. 

Multinational pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has already committed to mass-producing the coronavirus vaccine before it is deemed safe and effective so that large quantities of the jab are already available to distribute as soon as it gets the green light.  

AstraZeneca intends to produce two billion doses of the vaccine with a commitment to providing 400 million doses around the world by the end of 2020. 

Around 100 million doses of the vaccine are being reserved for the United Kingdom, while 300 million doses will be distributed in the United States, the company said. 

AstraZeneca has also struck a licensing partnership with the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, to help produce one billion doses of the vaccine which will be earmarked for low or middle-income countries. 

Read more: WHO's Irish boss says coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until early 2021