When Pfizer and BioNTech’s Kovid-19 vaccine begins production, Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group Co. will be ready for distribution. The company will distribute it as part of a complex and expensive system through airport warehouses, refrigerated vehicles and inoculation points. Once at the vaccination centers, the doses of the vaccine will be melted at -70 ° C and then injected within five days or they will worsen. The thing to keep in mind is that this process will need to be done twice because after a month another booster will need to be administered as well.
Why is administration of the mRNA vaccine difficult?
The company has authorized the vaccine for Greater China. The roadmap she has prepared shows what a daunting challenge it is. Indeed, none of the vaccines to be manufactured has yet been manufactured from mRNA. This vaccine prepares the human body to produce proteins that produce protective antibodies. For this reason, frozen production, storage and transport networks are necessary for the vaccine to last a long time. The biggest impact of this will be that those countries that are financially strong will complete this whole process. For this, because of the investments and the necessary coordination, it can only reach the urban population.
First opportunity for the rich?
Ding Sheng, director of the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute in Beijing, said the production of this vaccine is expensive, the parts needed to make it are unstable, it will require cold chain transport, and this will remain true for a short time. With this, once again, concerns began to arise that rich countries would receive the best vaccine first. At the same time, poor countries will have to choose whether they want to build expensive supply chains or wait longer for cheaper vaccines.
Challenge to rich countries too
Ding says if there is a protein vaccine that can be administered with the existing infrastructure, it will be chosen. Ding also says that these rich countries, which have already made deals for this, still face many challenges. During the delivery of the mRNA vaccine, if the truck goes wrong or the power fails, the healthcare worker gets sick or the ice melts, the vaccine will be damaged. Rich countries will also have to spend billions of dollars to build this supply chain. Pfizer has orders from Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as well as countries such as Peru, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.
Will India get it?
T Sundarraman, the global coordinator of the People’s Health Movement in New Delhi, says it is insufficient to keep a vaccine below -70 degrees in India. He says the existing cold chain doesn’t even contain a measles vaccine that children under 3 should provide. Compared to this, the demand for Kovid-19 vaccine is much higher. Union Minister of Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also said India was currently unable to increase existing cold chain capacity. Not only that, but it will also be difficult to deliver the vaccine in a short time apart from the temperature. For this, paramedical staff will also need to be trained. It would be difficult to deliver the vaccine to places where vaccination centers are far away or where people are not ready for vaccination. Due to these barriers with high prices, developing countries may not use the Pfizer vaccine.