Despite the wild claims that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available real soon now, the initial limited supply would require a coronavirus vaccine priority list. Despite what Donald Trump says, and his veracity is limited, the supply of the vaccine will be limited for many months after approval, whether that approval is legitimate or not.
The supply of a new COVID-19 vaccine is limited by many factors – regulatory review (yes, the FDA and other regulatory agencies must approve the manufacturing facilities for new drugs after the company receives approval to market their drugs), manufacturing bottlenecks, the number of doses required for “immunity,” and distributions problems, especially the need to store these vaccines at extremely low temperatures (no, your home refrigerator won’t get that cold).
In fact, that last point is something that everyone overlooks – your average physician does not have the ultra-low temperature freezers, usually only hospitals and major health departments. And they aren’t cheap. Furthermore, vaccines just don’t show up at a physician’s office or hospital directly from Big Pharma – they are delivered by a massive distributor network that may not have delivery vehicles that can properly store the vaccines as they drive their trucks across the deserts of Arizona in October.
This isn’t just an issue in the USA, it’s across the world. People magically believe that once a vaccine is approved it will suddenly be available to hundreds of millions of people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Because the Big and Little Pharma companies are being much less transparent than they should, we have really no clue how many doses may be available soon after they get the go-ahead.
Using the USA as an example, we’ll need around 750 million doses for every individual (assuming that two doses will be necessary and everyone gets the vaccine, which won’t happen). Overlooking the fact that the USA probably has a total vaccine manufacturing capacity of 200 doses at best (most of our current 300 million a year of vaccines are manufactured not only in the USA, but also in Canada, Belgium, Germany, France, and Japan), it’s highly improbable if not impossible to have 750 million doses on day 1. It may take years to manufacture that many.
If there are only 10-20 million doses available on day 1 (I’m highly skeptical of even that), you have to assume that there will be a coronavirus priority list.
Now, there is a group that will be developing a coronavirus vaccine priority list (they’ll probably give it a better name) – the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Dorit Rubinstein Reiss reported on a recent ACIP meeting which reviewed the ongoing efforts with the COVID-19 vaccine, but they did not make any recommendations on who should get the vaccine.
In light of that, if I were elected Emperor of Vaccines, then I would have to create an official coronavirus vaccine priority list so that the right people get the vaccination. Spoiler alert – most of us aren’t on that list. Read More »Coronavirus vaccine priority list – if I were elected the Emperor of Vaccines