Public health experts, federal health officials, personal protective equipment manufacturers, and drugmakers believe that by the end of this year, the FDA could issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine individual. This leaves America with only a few months to create an actionable plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the nation. Federal, local, and state officials are creating such plans to vaccinate as many people as they can against the coronavirus that has infected approximately 8 million Americans and has caused over 215,000 deaths nationwide. However, vaccinating people against the coronavirus may be a challenging task, as it could take some time for life in America to become normal. Here are some major challenges that will arise after the COVID-19 vaccine approval.
Problems after the COVID-19 Vaccine Approval
Producing Sufficient Doses of Vaccines Can Be Difficult
According to the CAP (Center for American Progress), managing two doses of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine, which is the dosing presently being tested in several late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials, would need the production and distribution of nearly 660 million doses of vaccine to vaccinate the all the U.S. nationals, or at least 462 million doses to vaccinate as many American as possible to help them achieve herd immunity. Producing that many doses may be a difficult task because of various challenges posed by the novel coronavirus.
For example, the global pandemic has disrupted America’s healthcare and personal protective equipment supply chain which has become largely dependent on raw materials and products manufactured in other countries. Moreover, the labor and supply shortages worldwide have made the United States face shortages of critical medical supplies including ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), and ingredients that are needed to produce some prescription drugs and supplies that could be important for storing and distributing the COVID-19 vaccines.
While many bulk PPE suppliers in the USA are trying to produce PPE on a large-scale, several pharmaceutical companies are working to increase production as quickly as they can to manufacture a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines. However, it would take months to come to a stage where a company could produce enough coronavirus vaccine to vaccinate the entire USA population.
Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines May Be More Difficult
Even if pharmaceutical companies are able to produce a sufficient number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine, distributing a vaccine would require America to run the largest COVID-19 vaccinations campaign that would require unprecedented planning and management.
The first hurdle that will be faced by the United States when distributing a vaccine is having the adequate capacity and equipment required to store and ship the COVID-19 vaccine doses properly. This also could be affected by America’s supply shortages. Vaccine supply chains are more complex than personal protective equipment supply chain as PPE can’t be destroyed by leaving it on the tarmac for few days, but a vaccine will get destroyed.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) launched a draft plan for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines that prioritized Americans on the basis of their risk of infection. Healthcare workers are the first ones to be vaccinated. Upon the request of the CDC and NIH, the NASEM created the plan that aims to serve as a guide for more comprehensive plans on how the USA should prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations once a vaccine candidate is approved.
The CDC also has been working with states to create plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. However, federal and state governments have not yet introduced official details on those plans. In July, the CDC created the first coronavirus vaccine distribution plan that covered the public health infrastructure that was initially created to distribute the H1N1 vaccine, according to the National Governors Association (NGA).
Adhering to the plan, manufacturers would distribute COVID-19 vaccines to a central distributor that would deliver weekly vaccine supplies to all states and territories. The states and territories would then approve requests for vaccine doses from clinics and providers. Then they distribute the vaccine doses to their facilities where providers would monitor the inoculation.
The Initial COVID-19 Vaccines May Not Be Very Effective
Another major challenge that could make the plan to get the entire USA population vaccinated is that the nation’s initial COVID-19 vaccines may not be very effective and therefore, Americans need to choose between these vaccines or wait patiently until they know which vaccine is highly effective.
According to the New York Times, the first round of COVID-19 vaccines that will be available in the USA may provide moderate level of protection against the novel coronavirus and people will still have to continue wearing their face masks. By the spring or summer seasons, there may be many of these kinds of vaccines which will make it difficult for people to choose between them.
The reason behind this is that the latest late-stage trials on COVID-19 vaccine candidates are testing the candidates against placebos rather than testing against each other. If the testing was done against each other, experts would have relevant information on which vaccine candidates are more effective. However, those trials are not happening currently as a few American officials thought it would take some time to get those trails off the ground, according to the Times. Therefore, it will be difficult to determine which amongst the first batch of authorized COVID-19 vaccines is the most effective.
Also, because the first round of COVID-19 vaccines that are available in the USA may be effective to some extent, drugmakers may find it difficult to work on potentially higher-level vaccines to perform and complete clinical trials, according to the Times. That’s because, rather than involving in or completing a COVID-19 vaccine trial in which they have already participated, Americans could opt for getting an authorized COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves against the coronavirus.
Furthermore, manufacturers of later COVID-19 vaccine candidates may need to prove that their candidates are more effective than the first round of authorized coronavirus vaccines. This would make it even more difficult to gain FDA approval because there will be a smaller difference between two vaccines and between a vaccine and a placebo. Hence, these trials need to be great and should last longer. The sudden cost may be more than several small start-ups working on new COVID-19 vaccines can afford, according to the Times. This results in the prevention of the development of better vaccines.
PPE Supply-Demand Imbalance Worldwide
As COVID-19 spread like fire throughout the world, there was an acute shortage of critical personal protective equipment for health staff. Many local personal protective equipment manufacturers came up and started producing PPE on a large-scale to meet the PPE demand spikes.
While many countries have managed to achieve the right balance of PPE supply and demand, the United States is still facing PPE shortages. As the COVID-19 vaccine has been rolled out, the demand for continuous supply for PPE is still expected to remain by the end of 2021. However, many bulk PPE suppliers in the USA are adopting measures to control the PPE supplies and prices to prevent an oversupply in the market.
What’s the Future of PPE in 2021?
As global economies have started recovering, all the sectors are likely to come on track and benefit from PPE, especially face masks, which may lead to a glut in the market.
Nations with lower COVID-19 case counts have already started moving their focus from ensuring continuous PPE supplies to securing COVID-19 vaccines. This shift in focus is anticipated to lower the PPE prices.
Meeting the escalated demand during the acute PPE supply shortages with global efforts has been incredible, however, as governments are now looking forward to securing an effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus, they must start addressing the ripple-effects of fighting against the virus as well.
As one of the leading bulk PPE suppliers in the USA, we offer high-quality, effective, and durable PPE gear to help people fight against coronavirus. Although COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out in many countries, we advise people not to stop using PPE, especially face masks, whenever going out in the public. Always remember to practice hand hygiene and maintain social distancing until our lives return to normal.
If you’re looking for trusted personal protective equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the USA, Co-Defend is the right place to be. Contact us to place your orders.
Q.1. Where can I get tested for COVID-19?
Co-Defend is not only one of the most trusted bulk PPE suppliers in the USA, but also one of the most reliable COVID-19 testing service providers. You may contact our experts for reliable COVID-19 testing services.
Q.2. Is it necessary to wear masks after getting vaccinated against COVID-19?
The CDC and federal health officials recommend individuals getting vaccinated against the coronavirus continue wearing face masks when going out in public to prevent the spread of the virus. This will continue until the majority of the country’s population has been vaccinated against or until herd immunity is achieved.
Q.3. Can I still spread the virus after I get vaccinated?
There are still many more people who need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus until we achieve adequate community immunity. Until that time, you still can spread the virus to others, even if you’re completely vaccinated.