Vaccinating the world against COVID-19: getting the delivery right is the greatest challenge

While global vaccination is the most effective way to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, high-income countries (HICs) like the U.S. have already experienced major delays in distribution. In an editorial for BMJ Global Health, Dr. Nathaniel Hupert, associate professor of population health sciences and co-director of the Cornell Institute for Disease & Disaster Preparedness, and colleagues noted that vaccination efforts in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be the largest global peacetime logistical effort ever undertaken. New supply chains that do not adversely interfere with the availability of other life-saving products will be needed while challenges surrounding a lack of electricity, internet and telephones will make vaccine distribution and tracing difficult. In the wake of anti-science ideas, countries will also need to strategically market vaccines in order the vaccinate the 70-80% needed to achieve herd immunity. Further, equity gaps will begin to widen between HICs and LMICs once vaccine prices rise, threatening global health once again. To achieve equitable vaccine distribution and overcome COVID-19 as a global community, leaders must focus on supply chain engineering, behavioral psychology and information management, among other sciences.

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