The race continues as researchers across the world work tirelessly to develop the first effective COVID-19 vaccine. However, new concerns are rising that one dose may not be enough to cure people, which brings a set of new problems to the fold.
The COVID-19 vaccine may require two doses to be truly effective. This is in line with other vaccines like the one for chickenpox and Hepatitis A, which both require two doses.
Clinical studies from various vaccine candidates currently being developed appear to suggest a double-shot vaccine regimen may be necessary, reports Bloomberg.
Speaking to CNN, professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University Nada Sanders explained that this double dosage creates a massive supply chain issue.
“You have to double everything in the supply chain,” she explained. “The syringes, can they double up? Can the vials double up? Can the stoppers double up? Can the needles double up? Everybody has to double up, and then they all have to get it in time at the various entities along the supply chain.”
There are currently 33 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 143 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation, according to the World Health Organisation. Frontrunners include the Moderna vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine, both of which are currently in the third stage of clinical trials.
Most companies are aiming at producing 1- or 2-billion vaccines within the first year their vaccine, if effective, hits the market. With a worldwide population of over 7-billion however, this means that a small fraction of the citizens will get the vaccine within a year of its release. Developing nations may be hit harder by the need for double doses.
There are a host of concerns beyond just developing the vaccine. Some are anti-vaccine and may refuse to get it, which could put a population at risk. According to a CNN poll from May, one third of Americans would not get the vaccine even if it was free and easy to get. The US has the world’s highest confirmed COVID-19 cases and the numbers continue to rise.
Another big issue is the logistic side of distributing the vaccine. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that procuring tests and PPEs is a mission on its own.
“There’s no question that this is going to be the most complicated, largest vaccination program in human history, and that’s going to take a level of effort, a level of sophistication, that we’ve never tried before,” Dr. Kelly Moore, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University told CNN.