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Vaccine vicissitudes

As economies, governments and individuals wait with varying degrees of desperation, a dozen COVID-19 vaccines are in advanced trials across different countries, and with results due to be released by the end of the year, a vaccine is likely to be ready for distribution by early 2021.  This week we examined some aspects of what this means in practical terms.

The more effective a vaccine, the faster evidence that it works becomes clear. With tens of thousands of participants in Phase III trials and a full-blown pandemic under way, these data points are likely to accrue quickly.  Beyond the scientific hurdle of developing a good vaccine, fast and efficient distribution on a global scale now requires unprecedented cooperation among manufacturers, governments, cargo operators and ground workers. 

It is estimated that 2-4 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine could be supplied by the end of 2021 (catering for 20% of the world population).  However, other factors that can affect the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine include 

📌 manufacturing speed, 

📌 stability of vaccine product and 

📌 cold chain considerations. 

 Historically, access to vaccines and therapeutics has not been equitable; diverse levels of wealth could result in extreme discrepancies in protection from COVID-19. Moreover, once vaccine distribution is decided on paper, 

a significant hurdle is the 

🔴 actual transport and delivery of vaccines,

 🔴 most of which require cold storage or freezer support. 

More than one vaccine is likely to become available for limited use in the next few months. In the absence of a unanimous commitment on global distribution, countries may depend on bilateral agreements to procure vaccines, based on regional availability and distribution capacity. Countries may also set different priorities on whom to vaccinate first, as supplies will be limited at least in 2021. Protecting only a proportion of the population will not stop the pandemic but will reduce COVID-19-related mortality.

Source: OXFORD ANALYTICA, Weekly Newsletter


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