Several Op-Eds published recently have emphasized the obstacles that states face in disseminating and administering COVID-19 vaccines. Jennifer B. Nuzzo of the Center for Health Security and Outbreak Observatory and Joshua M. Sharfstein of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported on the Washington Post about the difficulties faced by local health departments in the vaccine supply chain. Thomas J. Bollyky, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, commented on The Atlantic about the considerations the US government must make to ready local and state networks for widespread distribution, including efforts to increase coverage in priority or high-risk populations.
One of these obstacles, highlighted in the Washington Post article mentions, is keeping the vaccine at freezing temperatures. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are constructed of mRNA; thus, they must be transported, stored, and administered in specific freezers. Nonetheless, since the Moderna vaccine is frozen at less than 20 degrees Celsius and stays for a month, it could be easier to deliver. The BioNTech and Pfizer vaccines must be stored and distributed at less than 70 degrees Celsius, necessitating a substantial amount of dry ice. When thawed, undiluted vaccination vials could only be stored in the refrigerator for five days. Even though the Moderna vaccine has less severe storage requirements, both vaccinations provide logistical issues for jurisdictions that are not yet adequately resourced.
Another issue is finding enough people to deliver the immunizations. The Trump administration has stated that the military will assist in distributing vaccines, but what is more crucial is instilling faith in the immunization procedure. The latest surveys, conducted before this month’s vaccine development news, revealed that almost half of all adults in the United States could acquire the COVID-19 vaccination if it were accessible. Even though the newest vaccine announcement, with its optimistic efficacy rates, could boost confidence, messaging on every vaccine across all communication channels will remain vital in fighting misinformation as rapidly as it develops.
Whereas the vaccination news is encouraging, local and state health authorities still face obstacles in reaching the people who will profit most from these vaccines. To properly deliver an ultimate COVID-19 vaccine, the present gap in resources for personnel, logistics, and vaccine confidence must be addressed. The vaccination will play an important role in our response, but it is not a panacea. Local and state health administrations, both globally and domestically, should keep promoting standard measures such as mask use, respiratory and hand cleanliness, social distance, tracing, isolation, and testing.