While U.S. vaccine manufacturers finally kick off with their produce, the rest of the nations face a massive dearth of vaccine supplies. U.S now confronts a new question; what to do with the impending surplus?
A New Predicament for Biden; Frets Over How To Manage A Colossal Supply Of Vaccines
The U.S government is presently predicting that the supply of immunizations will surpass the nation’s demand by the mid of May and hence, government officials are battling with the question of what is to be done when the dearth of vaccines becomes more pronounced all around the globe.
President Joe Biden has guaranteed that a sufficient supply of doses will reach the entirety of the nation’s adult population, which is roughly 260 million at the moment, by the end of May. However, the government has signed over agreements with manufacturers, till the end of July, to produce enough vaccines to reach about 400 million people, which is 70 million more than the U.S’s entire population.
The government now appears to be grappled with the dilemma of what to do with those orders. Whatever decision is to be made, will largely impact the country’s efforts to keep the virus in check as well as how soon the pandemic ends. Tracking of global supply chains suggests that nearly three quarters of doses have only been received by 10 countries. Around 30 countries have not yet vaccinated a single of their citizens.
With a dramatic rise in their number of cases per day, the Indian government, which was a leading supplier of the AstraZeneca vaccine, has recently decided to put a curb on their vaccine exports. The same course of action was performed by the European Union this week. Decisions like these threaten to transform the global scarcity of vaccines into a more profound crisis.
Biden and his government are currently proposing to hold back the approaching surplus. With children and adolescents still not getting a jab of the vaccine and uncertain variables playing a role, U.S. wishes to hold on to the oversupply. Besides, there is always the probability of the immunity wearing off, in which case, the entire nation would require booster shots.
Vaccine manufacturers are also enduring an increasing number of complications. If they are not informed of the government’s decision soon, it could slow down production. In case the government plans to give out the supply to foreign nations, the manufacturers would require more time since the manufacturing process itself takes up to a little more than 2 months.
The storage durability of the vaccines poses another set of problems. While vaccines can be kept frozen for a year, once they are bottled, they are to be utilized within a span of four to six months. Michigan and Indiana, which host the bottling plants for the vaccine, are currently labeling the vials for utilization within the country. In case they are to be shipped overseas, the bottles need to be relabeled accordingly. And, if the destinations are not clear, the production will become stagnant, with millions of doses approaching the end of their storage life.
These complicated variables aim to severely jeopardize the seamless functioning of the United States’ vaccination drives. Owing to the federal government’s aid, vaccine manufacturers have been successful in expanding their produce, and the nation has provided new doses as immediately as they could, making the states a leading country in the numbers of vaccinations given out.