COVID-19: Issues must be addressed before vaccination
COVID-19: Issues must be addressed before vaccination. Before the COVID-19 vaccine is fully vaccinated, what obstacles should be cleared? Solving the problems of vaccine hesitation, supply logistics, distribution, pricing, and payment will help clear obstacles.
The global medical community is developing a COVID-19 vaccine at an unprecedented speed and scale, and governments of all countries are also looking forward to the availability and use of the vaccine. Recently, good news about several vaccines under development around the world have spread frequently.
Last month, several well-known vaccines successively announced the effectiveness of phase III clinical trials; on December 2, the British government approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German Biotech; Moderna also announced that, The COVID-19 vaccine will be tested on children…
Nevertheless, the “Nature” website pointed out in the report that this does not mean that the vaccine will be fully vaccinated soon. Until then, solving the problems of vaccine hesitation, supply logistics, distribution, pricing, and payment will help clear obstacles.
Several vaccines announced that they are effective
Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. of the United States issued an announcement on November 9 that the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the company and the German biotech company in phase III clinical trials exceeded 90%.
The British “Independent” reported on November 26 that the US pharmaceutical company Moderna announced that the effectiveness of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate has exceeded 90%.
In addition, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca also claimed that the average efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by them is 70.4%.
Early studies have shown that these vaccine candidates can stimulate the immune response. The latest test proves that this immune response can protect people from the new coronavirus.
On December 2, the British government announced that the country’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Administration (MHRA) approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German Biotech. It will be launched across the UK starting next week. This emergency authorization is The British vaccine deployment cleared the way!
On November 30, local time, Moderna of the United States applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use of its candidate vaccine, stating that its vaccine was effective and there were no “serious safety issues” during the trial.
In addition, according to the US “Capitol Hill Daily” report on the 2nd, Moderna said that it will recruit 3,000 12-17-year-old teenagers to test the COVID-19 vaccine to evaluate the safety of a single dose of the vaccine. The results are expected to be announced in 2022.
The dilemma of “vaccine hesitation” must be considered
Although the candidate vaccine uses “the arrow is on the string,” Nature reminds that researchers and clinicians still have a lot of preparation work to do. First, they need to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine in people at high risk of the new coronavirus (including the elderly, obese patients and diabetic patients); secondly, it is not clear how effective certain vaccines are for severely ill patients with COVID-19 pneumonia; third, also It is unclear to what extent vaccines can prevent vaccinated people from spreading the virus to others.
At the same time, in order to better respond to the COVID-19 pneumonia epidemic, researchers and policy makers must also consider how to solve challenges that are not related to the candidate vaccine itself, such as “vaccine hesitation.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) Immunization Strategy Advisory Expert Working Group defines “vaccine hesitation” as: a behavior that is affected by multiple factors in vaccination, that is, a group of people from complete recipients to complete rejections. These “hesitating” individuals may refuse to receive some vaccines, but they may also receive other vaccines or delay vaccination, or receive vaccines but are not sure whether to vaccinate. According to the opinion polls of relevant agencies, in European and American countries, people who question or oppose the COVID-19 vaccine-vaccine hesitate still account for a certain proportion.
In this regard, “Nature” magazine pointed out in the report that in order to build the confidence of the general public in vaccination, the government, regulatory agencies, companies and research partners must keep their promises to ensure transparency, truthful release of data and open discussions. Moreover, the media should also speak up to help the public dispel doubts or fears about the COVID-19 vaccine.
For example, the FDA has promised to hold a public meeting with external consultants in early December this year to discuss relevant data, and then issue emergency use authorizations to distribute vaccines. In addition, regulatory agencies in various countries should also share their data and analysis to speed up the approval of global vaccines. Regulators and vaccine manufacturers must also keep in mind that if people refuse to vaccinate because of vaccine hesitation, the effectiveness of the vaccine will be greatly reduced.
“Nature” magazine also emphasized in the report that governments cannot relax current public health measures. The Christmas holiday is approaching, and some people may be eager to visit relatives and friends far away. This may lead to the spread of the epidemic, so countries must be vigilant about this.
Vaccine distribution, pricing and payment need to be coordinated
How to distribute the vaccine, how to price, who pays for it, etc. are also issues that need to be resolved.
Judging from the current research results, the vaccines jointly developed by researchers from Oxford University and Cambridge AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals can be stored in ordinary refrigerators; while the vaccines developed by Pfizer and German biotech companies claim to be more effective, but It needs to be stored at -70°C, which increases the difficulty of distribution of this vaccine.
In addition, according to the “Nature” magazine, AstraZeneca and Oxford University promised to sell vaccines at cost during the pandemic and sell them to low- and middle-income countries at the same price after the pandemic, but both Pfizer and Monad There is no promise to reduce the price of vaccines after the COVID-19 epidemic is over.
At present, many countries (mostly rich countries) have pre-ordered nearly 4 billion doses of vaccine, so some people worry that developing countries may not get the COVID-19 vaccine for a long time.
The “COVID-19 Pneumonia Vaccine Implementation Plan” (COVAX) is a global alliance that aims to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have adequate vaccine supplies. Currently, it can only provide vaccines to approximately 250 million people, far below the required number. Once vaccine prices start to rise, the ability of the poorest countries to pay will decline. If these poorest countries do not have access to vaccines, it will also severely damage efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pneumonia epidemic.
As infectious disease researchers often say: there is an epidemic in one place, there may be an epidemic everywhere.