With several countries developing their own coronavirus vaccines, debates have begun to ensue of who gets the first shipments of the mass-produced treatment when the development process is finished.
Who gets the first vaccines?
Health authorities from the United States are hopeful that by next month, the world government would have a consensus or draft guidance on how to distribute initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to AP News, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr Francis Collins, said not everyone is going to like the decisions that will be made. Collins said there would be people who believe that they should be at the very front of the line and given the vaccine first.
Historically, the tradition for distributing the first doses of a limited vaccine demands that health workers and people who are vulnerable to severe symptoms get the treatment first. However, Collins suggested new ideas and recommended that authorities take into consideration the geographical aspects of the outbreak and see where the virus has hit the hardest.
The director also noted that officials should not forget about the volunteers who willingly let themselves get injected with what they thought were unproven vaccines for the purpose of testing their safety and efficacy but were actually dummy shots, saying the world owed them a special priority.
This summer, several extensive studies are researching which of the many potential vaccines against the COVID-19 virus are actually safe and effective to use. The leading establishments, Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc., have begun late-stage trials last week that would take 30,000 volunteers each.
In the next few months, there will be other large trials that would call for a vast number of volunteers to test potential coronavirus vaccines, including those by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Some other researches, including those in China, are currently in smaller-sized late-stage trials.
Some of the most difficult choices in determining who to give the coronavirus vaccines to first include whether pregnant women should be given priority or if Blacks and Latinos, who have disproportionately been affected by the pandemic, should be given special considerations, as reported by CNBC.
Several task forces have coordinated with each other to develop a fair and equitable distribution framework to determine how vaccines will be given out between countries.
A professor of bioethics, Arthur Caplan, who is teaching at New York University Langone Medical Center, believes there will be some countries who will have spare vaccines and others will be struggling to get more.
Caplan said nations would be able to utilize their excess of vaccines to strike trade deals with other countries. The professor also said enforcing safety and efficacy is another delicate issue as different countries have varying quality-control processes.
According to VOA News, Trump's administration is conducting Operation War Speed that aims to speed up the manufacture and distribution of coronavirus vaccines and is currently discussing how to rapidly deliver the correct number of doses to areas that need vaccinations.
Dr Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there are several methods and innovative ideas that are being discussed on how to accurately and fairly distribute coronavirus vaccines once the manufacturing process is finished.
The medical expert said as soon as the first safe and effective vaccine is declared, the agency hopes to start the programs the next day but said there is still a long road ahead.
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