Experts said that in order to start international travel once again, 15 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine is needed.
These figures would be nearly impossible to distribute at once. Now, one may ask, who is likely to access the vaccine first?
Release of the vaccine
Currently, 120 laboratories around the world have been developing a vaccine. One of them is an Australian laboratory led by the University of Queensland.
There are 12 vaccine candidates that have been proceeded in advanced stages, said by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).
IFPMA Chief Thomas Cueni said that the development of vaccines for COVID-19 pushed forth the efforts of many companies around the world.
Human testing began for advanced candidates.
Professor Jonathan Moreno, a bioethics expert from Johns Hopkins University aid that the vaccine should be tested for a smaller population before releasing it to the wider population.
He said that ideally, testing can proceed with 20,000 vaccine shots and 10,000 placebo so that nobody would know what they are getting.
Professor Moreno added that the simultaneous testing for animals and humans may incite controversy but the schedule necessitates it. Experts said that the earliest possible time for vaccine development would be late 2020 or early 2021.
Due to the efforts of different countries in flattening the curve, there may not be enough virus to infect people.
Challenge studies are recommended by some to determine the future of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, ethical issues surround such matters.
Professor Moreno said that the current political climate and the upcoming election may influence the release of the vaccine.
He said that it would not be surprising if the Trump Administration have their hands laid on advocacy studies for COVID-19 vaccination. On the other hand, this matter could be faced with issues such as public trust deterrence or anti-vaxxer movements.
How many doses do we need?
Mr. Cueni said that in order to create herd immunity, 80 percent of the population must be immunised.
This means that the doses must be around 12 to 15 billion.
Professor Moreno maintained that herd immunity is desirable because its main purpose is to vaccinate everybody.
In Australia, the Department of Health already affirmed that the target would be the herd immunity.
Elizabeth de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia said that a single vaccine could not ensure herd immunity.
She said that the world would need more vaccine manufacturers to vaccinate the whole world. Currently, the global capacity is at 5 billion. However, it would take 5 to 10 years to build a new manufacturing plant.
Mr. Cueni now raised the question, who will get the vaccine first?
Who will lead the queue?
Professor Moreno acknowledged the limitation of the manufacturing capacity for vaccines. He said that stages of production will be put in place and there will be the first one who will get it.
Experts believed that society’s most vulnerable should have access to vaccines.
These are people with chronic conditions.
Also, essential workers such as frontline roles such as military, police, doctors and the like should follow.
The Department of Health is currently establishing the appropriate scheme for COVID-19 immunisation. The decisions of the National Cabinet will depend upon the recommendation of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the necessary scientific evidence and other matters included.
Is elitism an issue?
Professor Moreno believed that elite countries will likely access the vaccine first.
He added that high-end countries who are in a better position could access the vaccine easily. He expressed his disappointment with such a matter.
Considering such matters, which country would likely the World Health Organisation will seek help for global guidance.
Mr. Cueni hopes that the 2009 H1N1 incident has already taught the globe in handling vaccine cases.
He pointed out that the focus right now should be towards global solidarity. global solidarity.