Turning a Vaccine Into Vaccination

Vaccines are on the horizon, but the last mile of vaccination — getting two doses into most people—is a Herculean task

A healthcare professional administers a vaccine dose to a female patient.
Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Unsplash
  • Getting the virus strain to grow
  • Knowing when a given geographic area would get the vaccine
  • Matching vaccine availability to peak activity of the virus in a region

It is important to remember that a vaccine is not a vaccination.

Another factor that cannot be overlooked is the actual plans states have in place to distribute their vaccine allocation. States will need to know when they will receive it, how much they will receive, and how they plan to allocate it. Important questions include how a state should geographically prioritize the allocation to health care workers and nursing home residents. Should vaccines go to hot spots in a state to quell the outbreak or to areas that have been relatively spared to prevent them from becoming hot spots? Among health care workers, should there be a second prioritization — giving the vaccine first to those health care workers who are in direct contact with Covid-19 patients and also themselves at risk for severe disease? How will states accomplish mass vaccination once the vaccine is available to community dwelling individuals? Will they use drug stores, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and high school gymnasiums? How will they announce availability? How will they ensure the return of individuals for their second dose? How will they make sure that people, once a second vaccine is available, come back for the correct second dose? How do we know that people will accept the vaccine? How will we communicate the safety of the vaccine?

Infectious disease MD working on pandemic policy, emerging infections, preventing bioterror. www.trackingzebra.com