As much as the world is deliberating on whether the pandemic is a boon or a bane, it can’t wait to get the first dose of the vaccine. No doubt, after passing through the fire of exponential challenges, the world has to some extent gotten back to order, although a new and debatably a better one.
As people root for the new world order where businesses are expected to be responsible, individuals are more conscious and tech savvy, and governments collaborate with private businesses and the public to progress towards a better world, all plans can fully come to fruition only when people are free from the fear of the virus and hence, a wrenching wait for the vaccine is not surprising.
Under usual circumstances, a vaccine takes years, sometimes more than a decade to be formulated, tested and finally ready to be administered to the population. But with Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the world the way it has; governments and pharmaceuticals had no option but to expedite the process of vaccine formulation and testing. Worldwide, there are about 110 major vaccine projects going on right now, out of which about 6 are either ready or almost ready for administering.
Till now, the general focus had been on understanding and assessing the efficacy of the vaccines, but now for a global roll-out, it is essential to explore other key factors like the distribution model and cost of the vaccine.
For instance, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs a storage temperature of -70 degree Celsius, while the vaccine from Moderna can be stored in a regular freezer at -20 degree Celsius, reports Statista. These factors can create great difficulties for global distribution of the vaccine.
Cost of the vaccine is another essential factor, especially since two doses will be needed for the vaccine to be effective. US’s vaccine, Moderna is the costliest of the lot at $37 per dose, while Pfizer & BioNTech vaccine is expected to cost about $20 per dose. China’s CoronaVac is priced at $30, but most nations are not really considering it as an option, considering the theories about the origin of the virus.
Although, both Sputnik and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are much priced lower at $10, many nations’ hopes are pinned on the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine which is cheapest at $4 per dose, can be stored in regular refrigerator at -20 degree Celsius and administered within prevalent healthcare settings. Tests show that the efficacy of the vaccine is 70% which can be heightened to 90% by tweaking the dosage.
Image source: Statista
Many nations around the world have made substantial bookings of vaccine doses even before the vaccines were ready. A study was conducted by Duke University to develop an understanding of the vaccine procurements by different countries. Statista reports that the findings of the study show an unequal struggle amid nations to obtain as many vaccine doses as possible.
The study suggests that as many as 9.8 billion doses of the vaccine has been secured till November 20. Of the total number, high-income nations have procured 3.49 billion doses, while middle income nations have secured 828.8 million doses. Lower middle-income countries have reserved about 1.75 billion doses. The study failed to ascertain the deals made by the governments of the low-income countries, which will presumably rely on COVAX alliance to secure vaccine supplies.
India has emerged as a frontrunner, securing almost 1.60 billion doses of the vaccine, while the European Union has reserved around 1.43 billion doses. US is the third highest securer of the vaccine and has obtained about 1.01 billion doses.
Image source: Statista