COVID-19 Vaccine Production and Distribution: Who Gets it First? -
COVID-19 Vaccine Production and Distribution: Who Gets it First?
Posted 30 Jul 2020 03:11 PM


The world may need 4.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to reach herd immunity threshold.

According to some reports, the annual manufacturing capacity of vaccines for the entire world is approximately 8 billion doses. India according to some reports has a manufacturing capacity of 3 billion. But these numbers are for all vaccines from essential childhood vaccines to seasonal flus.

Manufacturing of all these vaccines, that saved nearly 10 million lives between 2010 to 2015 according to the World Health Organisation, cannot be stopped to make way for the novel coronavirus vaccine.So how does the coronavirus vaccine if and when ready reach the world? How many vaccines will have to be produced to cover everyone in the world? When will you and I get them? Will we get them?

Where Are We Right Now With Vaccines?

Oxford and AstraZeneca have hinted their vaccine candidate ChAdOx1 could be ready by year end. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have also said they may be on track to approach US drug regulators for approvals as early as October, and they will be in a position to manufacture 100 million doses by year end and 1.3 billion doses by fall 2021.

US-based Moderna and US National Institute of Health's vaccine called mRNA-1273 also enters stage 3 trials and officials have said the vaccine will be available for use by year end. There are currently 6 candidates in phase 3 of clinical trials according to WHO's data, including three from China � Sinovac, Beijing Institute and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.

Billions of Doses, But Who Will Get These Vaccines?

Depends upon geography, wealth, ability of governments to strike deals with manufacturers and supply chain. Several countries have already signed deals with vaccine manufacturers and makers to get their hands on the first doses being produced.

UK and US governments have struck a deal with Oxford and AstraZeneca to get their hands on the first doses. Much of the funding for the trials came from the UK government and the pharma major has said that 30 million doses will be available for Britons starting September. The rest will be distributed between other countries and global alliances like Inclusive Vaccine Alliance struck by France, Germany, Italy and Netherlands. US has said it will start stockpiling vaccines starting fall this year. AstraZeneca has also signed deals with The Vaccine Alliance for 300 million doses for lower and middle income countries.

The UK government has also stuck deals with Pfizer for 30 million doses and with French company Valneva for 60 million doses.The US has struck deals with AstraZeneca to eventually manufacture 300 million doses and has stuck a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech with an initial order of 100 million doses for $1.95 billion and can acquire up to 500 million additional doses.

China, which has three vaccine candidates in stage 3, has said that it will have first access to the vaccine, even though it will treat the vaccine as global public good.

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