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Wealthy countries have already locked up more than a billion doses of coronavirus vaccines, raising worries that the rest of the world will be at the back of the queue in the global effort to defeat the pathogen.

Moves by the U.S. and U.K. to secure supplies from Sanofi and partner GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and another pact between Japan and Pfizer Inc., are the latest in a string of agreements. The European Union has also been aggressive in obtaining shots, well before anyone knows whether they will work.

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