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article imageOp-Ed: Coronavirus vaccine: It's not as simple as you think

By Tim Sandle     Nov 1, 2020 in Science
The rush to develop coronavirus vaccines continues. However, the process will take longer than much of the media is suggesting and not every vaccine will be as effective as others.
Once coronavirus vaccines have been developed (and there are various stages to complete before the first workable non-Russian vaccine is ready) and have been assessed for their efficacy and safety, governments will need to assess which vaccines to deliver, to whom, when and how often. It is likely that the vulnerable and key health service workers will be selected first. It also stands that individuals will need to decide if they want to be vaccinated.
While a vaccine may be effective, it is not a given that a vaccine will prevent each immunized person from becoming ill or infecting other people.
Developing this theme, Kanta Sabbarao, writing in Nature, says: "Whether one vaccine is more effective than another, how vaccines will work in people who are at the greatest risk of severe illness (people who are often excluded or under-represented in trials), whether vaccines will prevent transmission or severe disease, how long immunity will last" are the essential aspects for discussion, between scientists and the population at large.
This means it is important for health authorities to have open dialogue with the public and for the media to report the development of vaccines and what we can hope from vaccines in an open and honest way. If this isn't done, then public trust will be further undermined.
A further obstacle that could well arise is with logistics and this is an area that has also received little attention. While the focus is naturally with the properties of a vaccine, the ability to manufacture to scale and then to distribute vaccines to the world's population will be a huge undertaking. Once delivered at health centers, scheduling needs to be established, vaccines will need refrigeration, there needs to be a ready supply of needles and a sufficient number of healthcare professionals to administer each dose.
This means that once the first reliable vaccines appear, not only will different members of the population need to be targeted, the logistical side of medicinal supply will very complicated and this distribution process will take time and resources.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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