Will the US Face Critical Shortage of Covid-19 Vaccine Doses?

December 15, 2020 07:42 PM AEDT | By Team Kalkine Media
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  • There might be a shortage of Covid-19 vaccine as only 50 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has reached the US
  • The White House administration has reportedly passed on Pfizer’s offer to buy additional doses

There has been a wave of jubilation in the US after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the emergency use authorisation for the coronavirus vaccine co-developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE. As the US has the highest number of reported Covid-19 cases in the world, there is a high requirement of large numbers of vaccine shots to counter the rising infection.

Inadequate supply

As just one vaccine has been given the go-ahead for mass use, there is a likelihood that there could be a supply shortage looking at the present number of cases. There are major concerns about who will be vaccinated first and on what basis.

Initially, the Trump administration has secured around 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in July, of which 50 million shots are expected to be shipped by the end of this year. This implies that about 25 million people are likely to get immunised as the patients are required to be injected with two doses each.

About a quarter of the population in the US receiving the coronavirus vaccine is only possible if the authorities maintain a rigorous check on the wastage, misuse, in-transit dissipation and any unlawful activity of hoarding the doses by any institution. The restricted supply of the vaccine with only one producer receiving the FDA’s go-ahead, and the uncertainty around the availability of the Covid-19 vaccine doses in the days to come constitute a worrisome challenge.

Also Read: US FDA allows Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

(Image Source: ©Kalkine Group 2020)

Areas of concern

With the inadequate supply of the vaccine doses, the healthcare staff, doctors, nurses, the frontline volunteers deployed in the severely affected localities should be vaccinated at first.

According to experts, these people are mandatorily required to be inoculated on precedence as all these workers have to ensure their safety due to their continuous engagement with vulnerable Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) infected patients, a mass number of people visiting the healthcare facilities, and the involvement with the respective families.

Safeguarding the interest of healthcare workers can certainly strengthen the fight against the global health emergency as a greater number of vaccinated doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff can help in breaking the contagious chain of coronavirus cases. The pandemic presents a greater-than-expected threat to the healthcare staff as they directly come in contact with multiple patients on a daily basis.

The US has the highest number of Covid-19 cases, the data of infectious cases among the healthcare staff in the country seems misjudged. The CDC’s data showing 915 deaths of healthcare workers as on Monday, is likely a vast underestimate, the Wall Street Journal reported citing Kaiser Family Foundation.

Meanwhile, there has been an apparent notion that the present White House administration has passed on the repeated offers of Pfizer to procure more doses of the coronavirus vaccine. “... concerned about the failure to secure an adequate supply of (coronavirus) vaccines,” POLITICO stated in a report citing a letter by senior lawmakers written to the leaders of Operation Warp Speed of the US.


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