Understanding the challenges surrounding COVID-19 vaccine campaign

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Dr Shubham Mishra is working, a Junior Resident in the Department of Surgery at  Government Doon Medical College & Hospital, India. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


As COVID-19 continues to spread at an unprecedented pace across the world, many countries have developed health safety regulations such as regular washing of hands, wearing of the nose marks, social distancing and the notorious lock-downs. While these measures helped decrease the spread, many experts have argued the need for vaccines, hence necessitating the researching, manufacturing and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. 

Even though hundreds and thousands of people are dying each week because of COVID-19, it is easier said than done to introduce the COVID-19 vaccines into the market. For a successful vaccination, stakeholders have to consider the following essential factors: availability of vaccines, the vaccinators  and the people to vaccinate.

Failure to deal with the challenges of each key metric will hamper a successful COVID-19 vaccination and even make the whole exercise futile. Also, if the right measures and systems are not applied, introducing the COVID-19 vaccines can more likely worsen the global pandemic. The following are the key areas of concern :-

  1. Money 

It will involve a lot of money to produce the COVID-19 vaccines. In the US alone, medical and health experts have noted that the federal government needs to raise about $8.4billion to accelerate the production of the vaccines to cater for the over 300 million population.

  • Manufacturing

It’s not enough to get the money. Millions of people need to be vaccinated. That means research firms and manufacturing organizations have to increase their pace of obtaining the raw materials. Production has to be done at an unprecedented pace to vaccinate millions and save lives.

  • Premature Approval & Distribution

Day in day out, more and more people are contracting the COVID-19 and dying profusely. The global pandemic is so devastating and breathtaking that immediate actions have to be taken to introduce the vaccines into the market to curb the situation.

  • Public Resistance and Persuasion

 “You can have a vaccine that is fairly effective,” says Health expert, Brunson. “But if no one takes them, that doesn’t matter.” It is not enough to produce and distribute the COVID-19 vaccines to localities. As it stands now, many people have various viewpoints on the vaccine.

  • Mass Introduction of Standardized and Falsified Vaccines

Once the initial COVID-19 vaccines have become successful, many greedy manufacturing companies will introduce their version of fake and falsified vaccines into the market, sold at very affordable rates. To cut costs, many procurement agencies of nations will buy them. This will worsen the pandemic and culminate in millions of lost lives.

Conclusion

To ensure a successful COVID-19 campaign, stakeholders in the health, media and policy sectors have to collaborate and develop measures to deal with revenue generation, manufacturing, storage, distribution, risk-analysis, premature approval, distribution, theft and introduction of falsified vaccines into the market. Through proper planning and coordination of activities, the exercise will immensely save lives and even reverse the pandemic. 

References

  1. German Lopez (2020) The Covid-19 vaccine’s 2 big challenges, Available at: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/22161047/covid-19-coronavirus-vaccine-manufacturing-distribution-persuasion

About the author

Dr Shubham Mishra is working as a Junior Resident in the Department of Surgery at  Government Doon Medical College & Hospital, he has also served for about nine months in COVID 19 emergency duty. He has graduated from Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute Of Medical and Health Sciences, Dehradun. He has been an active member of Medical Students Association of India (MSAI) since 2015, and has represented his college twice as a Local Officer on Research Exchange (LORE). He has a keen interest in research and has always helped his colleagues and juniors in the same.

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