COVID-19 vaccine: Different models of distribution emerge as scientists race to develop cure
In order to reduce the premature deaths and other irreversible health issues caused due to COVID-19, nineteen scientists from around the world have proposed a new three-phase plan called the Fair Priority Model for the distribution of the vaccine
Amid the rising COVID-19 cases, the one thing bringing people hope is the development of a vaccine. About 45 potential vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 virus are currently undergoing trials and are in various stages of development.
Vaccines such as the inactivated vaccine by Sinopharm and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, mRNA-1273 by Moderna, CoronaVac by Sinovac and AZD1222/Covishield by The University of Oxford, AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India are currently in the third phase of trials. The complete results of most of these vaccine trials are yet not published and are expected to be released by the end of 2020.
Vaccines candidates like ZyCoV-D by Zydus Cadila, NVX-CoV2373 by Novavax and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and National Institute of Virology are in the second phase of the trial. Another most talked-about COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162 by Pfizer and BioNTech is in the 2/3 phase.
But now that all these vaccines are in the works, the question of interest becomes: once the vaccine is developed, who would be getting it first?
The prior proposal
Earlier this year, some health experts had proposed two main categories of people who should be given the vaccine: healthcare workers and high-risk populations, such as people over the age of 65 years. The World Health Organisation has suggested that countries should receive vaccine doses in proportion to their populations.
However, some experts find both of these strategies to be flawed. Nineteen such experts stated that, though distributing the vaccine by population might seem fair, it might be better to provide it on the basis of how many severe cases are there in a given area.
The Fair Priority Model
In order to reduce the premature deaths and other irreversible health issues caused due to COVID-19, nineteen scientists from around the world have proposed a new three-phase plan called the Fair Priority Model for the distribution of the vaccine.
The paper was published in the journal Science and was led by Dr Ezekiel J Emanuel from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Scientists made the Fair Priority Model keeping three fundamental values in mind for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine:
- Providing benefit to the people and limiting the harm
- Giving the vaccine first to the disadvantaged category
- Providing equal moral concern to all the affected individuals
The model focused on reducing the three types of harm that is caused due to COVID-19. These include death and permanent organ damage, strain and stress on the healthcare system and economic destruction.
In phase 1 of the Fair Priority Model, the scientists focused on reducing premature deaths. In Phase 2, the scientists focused more on improving the economic sector. In phase 3, countries with higher transmission rates are initially prioritised, however, all the countries would get a sufficient amount of vaccine to halt the transmission of the disease. The aim of the model is to provide immunity to almost 60 percent to 70 percent of the population.
However, the WHO still insists on initially giving the vaccine to 3 percent of the population in every country and gradually providing immunity to 20 percent of the population in those countries.
The scientists concluded that this model would only be implemented after the approval of the WHO, the manufacturer and the leaders of the respective countries.
For more information, read our article on COVID-19 vaccine: Potential targets and types of vaccines.
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