- COVID-19 vaccines have shown promising results in the early stages of development.
- Several vaccines have entered Phase III clinical trials to determine their efficacy and safety.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could authorize a vaccine within six months.
- The time between FDA authorization of a vaccine and availability can take many months.
- 70 percent of the population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
- There is a need to accelerate the development of alternative vaccine technologies.
According to an article published in the Centre for American Progress, several COVID-19 vaccines have shown promising results in the early stages of development.
Vaccines enter Phase III clinical trials
This summer and fall, several vaccines will enter Phase III clinical trials to determine their efficacy and safety. Some experts believe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could authorize a vaccine within six months.
But this time frame is not when most Americans can expect to be vaccinated. The time between FDA authorization of a vaccine and widespread availability can take many months. For example, in 2009, the first doses of the H1N1 vaccine were administered on October 5. Only 124 million doses were available by the end of January 2010, four months later.
Shortening this time by even weeks could save tens of thousands of American lives. Moreover, experts believe at least 70 percent of the population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity—when enough of the population is immune to protect the others by stopping the spread of the virus. The sooner this target can be reached, the sooner the economy can fully reopen and a normal way of life can resume.
Accelerating this timeframe will require unprecedented government action and coordination. As Dr. Anthony Fauci and his colleagues observed, “Cost, distribution system, cold chain requirements, and delivery of widespread coverage are all potential constriction points in the eventual delivery of vaccines to individuals and communities.”
Requirements for vaccines
Experts believe two doses of vaccine will be needed, requiring the manufacturing, financing, distribution, and administration of 462 million doses to achieve herd immunity and 660 million doses for the entire U.S. population.
Comprehensive vaccine plan
To develop a comprehensive vaccine plan, an interview was conducted from representatives of vaccine manufacturers, manufacturers of vaccine supplies, pharmacies, and other experts and reviewed all publicly available information.
Policymakers can use this assessment as a guide to seeking additional information and inform planning efforts.
To ensure efficient manufacturing and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, the executive branch and Congress urgently need to:
- Accelerate development of alternative vaccine technologies
- Map the nation’s manufacturing and fill-finish capacity, including manufacturing capacity for brewing equipment
- Invest up to $400 million to retrofit four existing facilities for the production of 50 million doses per facility
- Invest $100 million to expand the capacity of manufacturers of brewing equipment
- Invest up to $1.4 billion to build two new manufacturing facilities
- Use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to coordinate vaccine manufacturing capacity and supply chains
- Map the nation’s manufacturing capacity for vaccine supplies and materials, including vials, syringes, needles, stoppers, adjuvants, and cold storage
- Use the DPA to coordinate manufacturing capacity for glass vials, syringes, and needles
- Immediately invest an additional $70 million to expand manufacturing capacity for syringes and needles
- Expand the supply of more rapid sterility and potency tests
- Use the Vaccines for Children Program as a model to bulk purchase 660 million doses
- Appropriate $20 billion for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies for the U.S. population
- Set a maximum administration fee and require government programs and private insurance plans to cover the fee
- Appropriate $1.5 billion for the cost of administration for uninsured individuals
- Issue guidelines for states on how to target distribution and operationalize targeting
- Leverage the CDC’s centralized distribution for publicly financed vaccines
- Contract with a technology company to upgrade the Vaccine Tracking System
- In partnership with state health departments and the private sector, establish 7,300 community vaccination clinics
- Appropriate $10 billion for community vaccination clinics
- Plan a massive vaccination campaign by recruiting medical experts, sports stars, celebrities, and community leaders and partnering with grassroots organizations and medical organizations
- Appropriate $7.2 billion for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) international financing mechanism for low- and middle-income countries and secure commitments from U.S. allies
- Establish governance and accountability mechanisms and release a comprehensive vaccine plan
As this report demonstrates, a massive coordinated effort is needed and there is little evidence that the Trump administration is adequately preparing now. Rapid manufacturing, financing, distribution, and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine will require unprecedented government planning and coordination at both the federal and state levels. Tens of thousands of lives, millions of livelihoods, and a normal way of life are at stake.
You can read the detailed report here.
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Source: Centre for American Progress