Viewpoint: A Covid-19 Vaccine Will Need Equitable, Global Distribution
By Rebecca Weintraub , Prashant Yadav and Seth Berkley
With the development of potential vaccines for Covid-19 progressing quickly, we need to invest now in infrastructure for distributing a vaccine globally on an equitable basis as soon as it is proven safe and effective.
Vaccines serve two related but distinct functions. They protect the vaccinated persons against the infection, and they reduce transmission, protecting those not vaccinated by reducing the number of people who can transmit disease, drastically reducing spread — a concept known as herd immunity. Equitable vaccine distribution is essential to achieving herd immunity.
Time is of the essence. The development of candidates for Covid-19 vaccines is progressing faster than that for any other pathogen in history. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are already two clinical trials underway and more than 50 vaccine candidates in clinical evaluation. Multilateral institutions funded by multiple governments, pharmaceutical companies, and philanthropists are all pouring hundreds of millions into the vaccine development effort, which has helped hasten discovery.
Photo courtesy of Army Medicine.