The Challenges of Global Vaccine Distribution
To date, the COVID-19 vaccines of Moderna and the partnership between BioNTech and Pfizer have already received authorizations for emergency use not only in the US and Canada but also in the European Union, the United Kingdom, and several other countries. With this, many frontline workers and priority citizens have received their first doses.
Apart from this, vaccines produced by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and a handful of other manufacturers across the globe are expected to arrive soon and will be distributed and administrated. This massive global effort has shattered the record for vaccine development since the previous vaccine project that held the fastest development was Merck’s mumps vaccine, which took four and a half years (1963–67).
Certain places around the world have hit some bumps along the way as they continue with their respective COVID-19 programs. These include the accumulation of stockpiles and the slow deployment to vulnerable countries and at-risk groups. Nonetheless, experts are confident that safe and highly efficacious vaccines are reaching the market, and many hope that this will finally be the end of the pandemic. The epidemiological end to the COVID-19 health crisis seemed to be a dream just several months ago, but, thanks to the fast development, approval, and rollout of some vaccines, it is now basically feasible and realizable in parts of the world.
However, although the COVID-19 vaccination program is already underway, there are still several hurdles we must overcome: raw-materials constraints in production scaling, quality-assurance challenges in manufacturing, cold-chain logistics and storage-management challenges, increased labor requirements, wastage at administration facilities, and IT challenges.
All of these pose a threat to the acceleration of the COVID-19 immunization programs worldwide. But to mitigate such risks, manufacturers, distributers, and governments should undertake certain steps to facilitate its widespread adoption as COVID-19-vaccine rollouts commence, thereby minimizing the challenges associated with the massive global vaccine deployment.