15 Jan 2021
Posted in Coronavirus
Amidst crisis in the US, Biden promises $20 billion for vaccination program, but new ideas for vaccine delivery are needed
Following the news that the incoming Biden administration promises $20 billion for a national vaccination program, Philipp Rosenbaum, PhD, Senior Infectious Diseases Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“More funding for the mass rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is urgently needed, as the US reported on average 240,000 new daily confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 3,300 deaths per day over the past week. While hospitals and healthcare personnel on the ground are inundated with new COVID-19 cases, little capacity is left for vaccinations. The Biden administration’s plan to deliver 100 million vaccine doses in the first 100 days in office is an ambitious goal and letting pharmacies in the US distribute the vaccine and organizing mass vaccination drives could accelerate the effort. Furthermore, a central register to keep track of vaccine doses, of people in prioritized groups, as well as of vaccine recipients would greatly facilitate the process and help in case of future vaccinations.
“Whereas countries with universal, modern healthcare systems, such as Israel and Denmark, are off to a rapid start, the largely private and compartmentalized US healthcare system was not sufficiently prepared due to a lack of high-level organization, funding, and personnel, in combination with the complicated logistics of such a massive rollout. Although more than 30.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed to the states, only 11.8 million doses have been administered. Operation Warp Speed’s initial goal was to vaccinate 20 million people in 2020, a goal that seemed feasible following vaccine approvals in November after less than one year in development.
“The initial plan of the US government to reserve a second dose for everyone who received their first shot would have been a sensible strategy at a different stage of the outbreak, but during an uncontrolled pandemic and the risk of more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants taking a foothold in the US, the release of all doses to vaccinate as many people as possible appears to be a better plan, putting pressure on vaccine manufacturers to keep up with production so second doses will be available on time. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services is now recommending the vaccination of people 65 years of age and older and people with high risk of infection, before the first groups, healthcare and essential workers and people ages 75 years and older, have been fully vaccinated.”