In a new blog post on “GatesNotes,”,billionaire Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates says we need to “manufacture and distribute” at least 7 billion doses of vaccine globally and possibly 14 million if it’s a multi-dose vaccine.
We need to manufacture and distribute at least 7 billion doses of the vaccine.
In order to stop the pandemic, we need to make the vaccine available to almost every person on the planet. We’ve never delivered something to every corner of the world before. And, as I mentioned earlier, vaccines are particularly difficult to make and store.
There’s a lot we can’t figure out about manufacturing and distributing the vaccine until we know what exactly we’re working with. For example, will we be able to use existing vaccine factories to make the COVID-19 vaccine?
What we can do now is build different kinds of vaccine factories to prepare. Each vaccine type requires a different kind of factory. We need to be ready with facilities that can make each type, so that we can start manufacturing the final vaccine (or vaccines) as soon as we can. This will cost billions of dollars. Governments need to quickly find a mechanism for making the funding for this available. Our foundation is currently working with CEPI, the WHO, and governments to figure out the financing.
Part of those discussions center on who will get the vaccine when. The reality is that not everyone will be able to get the vaccine at the same time. It’ll take months—or even years—to create 7 billion doses (or possibly 14 billion, if it’s a multi-dose vaccine), and we should start distributing them as soon as the first batch is ready to go.
Most people agree that health workers should get the vaccine first. But who gets it next? Older people? Teachers? Workers in essential jobs?
I think that low-income countries should be some of the first to receive it, because people will be at a much higher risk of dying in those places. COVID-19 will spread much quicker in poor countries because measures like physical distancing are harder to enact. More people have poor underlying health that makes them more vulnerable to complications, and weak health systems will make it harder for them to receive the care they need. Getting the vaccine out in low-income countries could save millions of lives. The good news is we already have an organization with expertise about how to do this in Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Read more here.