Expert: We need to prep for COVID-19 vaccine distribution now

Wow, I would love for that to be the case. If we have that much vaccine available simultaneously, then the challenge is to get administered to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

To make it geographically accessible, we would want to distribute broadly, including to rural locations and multiple points of distribution within urban areas. We also want to send it to places where people are likely to want vaccine. These places can include many types of healthcare providers, such as primary care physicians, specialty providers, Federally Qualified Healthcare Clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. But you also want to think about other locations, like pharmacies, retail clinics, workplaces, prisons, military bases or schools, that can meet people where they are and at different times of the day. You also need to take into account that the vaccine needs to be affordable, and that’s for the total cost of the vaccine itself and the administration fee to obtain it. Throughout all of this, there will need to be an educational campaign that informs people on why to get a vaccine and how they can do so.

It is possible that multiple doses may be needed, so we will need good information systems to monitor who has received what and when. We also saw for H1N1, in 2009 and 2010, that leftover vaccine was considered “hazardous waste” by some states. So it is important to know where leftover vaccine is located in case it needs to be recollected and disposed.

It would also be great if we can think about how to help others worldwide who are struggling with this pandemic. If we have that much vaccine, I hope we are working with other countries to make sure they have sufficient supply, too.

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