The United States has led the world in purchasing messenger RNA vaccines that have proven to be the most effective against Covid-19. We are starting to lead the world by not using them.
Over 27 million unused Moderna Inc. doses and Pfizer Inc. across the United States, according to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And there are 35 million doses from BioNTech SE. It has led to prominent public health calls to pack American surpluses into dry ice and ship it to places like India, where outbreaks are still growing.
“We know that supply is outpacing demand here, but there is an overdose,” said Monica Gandhi, a doctor and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, with more than 20 colleagues. I called and wrote a letter. In the United States to ship a spare Monica dose to India.
As American vaccinations slow and doses accumulate, the United States is at a crossroads of health, ethics, and diplomacy. China exports more doses than any other country, increasing its international recognition and influence. Should the United States continue to buy and distribute millions of mRNA vaccines per week to those who are not in a hurry or are at low risk? Or should we reduce orders, free pharmaceutical companies and send more doses to other countries in need?
It may seem easy to ship spares in a box, but the reality is much more complicated. The warehouse does not have tens of millions of Moderna dose stockpiles and is ready to use. Most unused US doses are scattered in tens of thousands of locations, including state facilities, local pharmacies, vaccination sites, and other locations. Collecting them and sending them abroad would be unwieldy, and undermines the domestic efforts of the United States.
Pfizer has already sent some shots manufactured in the United States overseas. In addition, unused doses from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Plc may be available for delivery within the next few weeks or months. The exact date is unknown.
However, there are few signs that the US strategy to secure more than enough supply at home to roll back the Pandemic guidelines for masking and roll up the sleeves to vaccine fencesitters will soon change.
Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House’s Covid Response Team, told reporters this week that he would “push harder when he wins.” He said the US goal is to continue vaccination of 70% of adults by July 4.
Vaccine of choice
The double-dose mRNA vaccine has the highest efficacy rate of any vaccine approved for use worldwide. They are also the most difficult to store and ship and have been acquired primarily by wealthy countries. They have become the vaccine of choice for Americans because of their availability and their perceived superiority.
Pfizer shots are also allowed for people between the ages of 12 and 15 and are important to the domestic effort to vaccinate teens. Covid’s risk is relatively low, and even younger children may soon be licensed, reducing the availability of defenseless people abroad.
“If we were really interested in taking an ethical approach to vaccination, we would have vaccinated the most vulnerable people wherever we live, but that’s not a political reality,” said a pediatrician. Former CDC deputy director Richard Besser said. “Each country is focused on protecting its own country,” said Besser, now CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which means turning to American children first.
To understand the number of additional shots the United States actually has, we need to understand how its vaccine supply chain actually works.
Moderna shipments are overseen by the federal government. When the company finishes taking it, it is the distributor McKesson Corp that stores them and sends them to the vaccination site. Give ownership to.
As of April 12, Moderna delivered 117 million doses. It produces 40 to 50 million doses a month. So, as of this week, there are about 157 to 167 million doses. According to the CDC, about 140 million of these doses have already been shipped to vaccine locations and states.
In addition, if 10 million units are being ordered or shipped, that is, those shipped weekly, there will remain 7 to 17 million doses that have not yet been sent nationwide to the vaccine site. It corresponds to a supply of less than two weeks and can be easily wiped out even with slight manufacturing delays.
The government contract with Modana also states that the government cannot permit the use or use of vaccine orders. “Unless such use occurs in the United States and is protected from liability under a declaration issued under public preparation and emergencies.” To sign a contract with Moderna or find a way to circumvent that clause and share his dose.
McKesson declined to comment, and the US Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to emails asking for comment. Those familiar with the company’s efforts have described production estimates inline.
Pfizer, the only mRNA vaccine manufacturer in the United States, controls its own distribution. The company has promised to provide the United States with 220 million doses by the end of May. Already shipped more than 170 million times, pharmaceutical companies produce more than US orders each week.
According to those familiar with the matter, the excess has already been sold abroad, mainly in the Americas, including in hit areas like Brazil. Canada, Mexico and Uruguay all say they are receiving Pfizer.
Pfizer plans to sell more doses abroad as its manufacturing capacity expands, said CEO Albert Bourla. The company’s transactions with the United States are structured and do not require a permit after fulfilling its domestic obligations. This way of producing more doses than is needed in the United States is almost certainly the way to get more mRNA vaccines abroad.
Unfortunately, even if unused US vaccinations are sent abroad, they will barely make a dent in need. The world needs billions of vaccines instead of millions, and places currently at stake can burn their outbreaks before help arrives.
“The donations are in many ways temporary,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention. “This will be the first supply to initiate emergency relief. It’s almost not a band-aid, but as we understand it’s an available product and has the potential to be deployed forever. there is.”
The next few weeks will be discussed in terms of US needs and what is available for export. Many states have renewed their campaigns with cash lottery-like incentives for people who haven’t taken shots yet. According to the State Department of Health, Colorado requires a maximum number of doses per week. According to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, the pace of vaccination is relatively stable at around 50,000 times a day.
Other states are declining. According to the state, Illinois’s latest demand was only 8,510 after peaking at nearly 600,000 doses during its peak in April. We also send unused doses to areas of high local demand.
The Biden administration has announced that it will ship approximately 60 million doses of AstraZeneca that are not licensed for use in the United States in the coming months. There are also tens of millions of J & J vaccines that may become available, perhaps as the US campaign ends.
These are vaccines that the United States does not need or want. But they are probably what it gives.
When will the US send the coronavirus vaccine to India?It may not have a dose
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