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The COVID-19 Vaccines Are Here. So What Happens Next?

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Biology   |   Health   |   Science  
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Getting approval for one or more COVID-19 vaccines is just the first step on the long journey we've been on now.
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The three vaccines currently farthest along in their development and approval processes are all using new technologies; Pfizers mRNA vaccine, Modernas mRNA vaccine, and AstraZenecas vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, which is whats called a recombinant vector vaccine that uses DNA. Right now, Pfizers mRNA vaccine is whats being actively administered in countries like the UK, the US, and Canada. On December 18th, Modernas mRNA vaccine was approved in the US as well.

After more than 300,000 coronavirus deaths in the US alone, the CDC has recommended that healthcare workers get priority, as theyre the ones risking their lives every day treating those who need to be hospitalized. And although theyre first up on the list for vaccination, this first shipment of vaccines were hearing about is not going to be enough for every healthcare worker in the country, so those on the front lines will be divided into risk categories based on where they work, with those who work directly with COVID patients having first access to the vaccine. Also high on the priority list are the elderly, living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, as they are the age demographic most at risk for serious disease.

Now, the US federal government has given vaccines to each state based on total state population, notably NOT by the number of people in that population who may fall into a high-risk group. Then every state gets to decide for itself how to divvy up its available vaccine doses. Individual states get to decide which of their hospitals receive the vaccine first.

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Read More:
What We Know About the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan
"Providing COVID-19 vaccines for even part of the U.S. population will be an enormous logistical challenge involving a complicated supply chain filled with potential bottlenecks, not to mention hundreds of millions of vaccine doses that must each be kept at the right temperature every step of the way, then administered twice, after varied intervals of time, in order to be effective."

How COVID vaccines are being divvied up around the world
"Counting up all vaccine deals per capita, Canada leads the pack, with nearly nine doses per person (see 'Best and worst supplied'). Canada has done exactly what we would expect a high-income country to do, and theyve done the right thing by their country, says Andrea Taylor at Duke."

How to Distribute a COVID-19 Vaccine Ethically
"Which countries should get a vaccine first? To what degree should helping essential workers, the poor, minorities and the young (or old) affect vaccine distribution between countries? Is it better to prioritize the quantity of lives saved by a vaccine or rather the quantity of life years saved?"


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