COVID-19 and Vaccinations: What’s next?
As COVID-19 is changing the way the world is operating, how people are interacting, and how businesses are working, a big question is at the forefront of people's minds: When will a vaccine be ready?
A clear-cut answer is not available as to when a vaccine will be ready. In fact, many key leaders are arguing and releasing contradictory statements on the matter.
Vaccination in the News
Just a few days ago, Donald Trump publicly rebuked Robert Redfield, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Director. Redfield told the US Congress that it’s very unlikely a COVID-19 vaccine would be widely available to the public until mid-2021, despite Trump’s ambition to release a vaccine in October 2020. 
President Trump also announced that by the end of the year, 100 million vaccine doses would be available. That number is expected to rise to 700 million doses by March. On the other side of the world, China is estimating that it will produce 610 million vaccine doses against COVID-19 this year while aiming to reach a production capacity of one billion vaccines for next year.
Comparing Effectiveness of Vaccines and Masks
While there is some uncertainty as to when a vaccine will be ready and how many doses will be available, some people are leaning towards masks as a favoured method of COVID-19 prevention and that, ultimately, vaccination may be unnecessary.
Dr. Redfield and President Trump also appeared to have opposing views when comparing the effectiveness between masks and vaccines on the matter.
However, that issue was resolved as Dr. Redfield announced on Twitter that he believes that a COVID-19 vaccine is 100% important and is what “will get Americans back to normal everyday life.”
Pressure on Global Medical Suppliers
Whenever it is that a vaccine does come out, the global supply must be able to meet the demand.
Manufacturing and distributing a vaccine at such high levels will strain suppliers worldwide as a vaccine isn’t just about the formula, but also the components that enable its administration.
This puts foreseeable pressure on global medical device suppliers such as Numedico Technologies, an Australian based syringe manufacturer, as well as other suppliers. While a supply shortage may be problematic, it is also an opportunity for companies like Numedico Technologies to rise to the challenge of supplying the global market. Numedico’s flagship syringe product, ClickZip, has been in market since 2005 and exports to over 20 countries worldwide.
Experts are also forecasting that as a mass rollout of the coronavirus vaccine occurs, there will also be a shortage of glass vials.
For the successful rolling-out of a COVID-19 vaccine, global medical device suppliers must be able to meet and fulfill this demand, ensuring that components such as syringes are readily available when the time comes.
Global medical suppliers will face many difficulties when ramping up their production levels in order to meet demand.
Production is affected by variables such as factory certification, storage availability, logistics, as well as time. The manufacturing process of glass vials and syringes is complex and time consuming and requires time and capital to boost production levels, according to Prashant Yadav, a Harvard Medical School lecturer.
COVID-19 Testing Kits Still in Demand
In the meantime, until a vaccination does get approved, COVID-19 testing kits will continue to be in high demand by the public.
The UK has already taken a hard hit from COVID-10 test shortages. Thousands of nurses and general practitioners (GPs) are being mandated to stay at home because they cannot acquire a test for COVID-19 due to testing shortages.
Without a COVID-19 test, GPs and nurses cannot be cleared to return to work as they must isolate, ultimately creating a shortage of workers in the frontlines against COVID-19.
Globally, billions of COVID-19 vaccinations will be required, at a time when many other diseases and viruses also require vaccines.
Even prior to the launch of a COVID-19 vaccine, other illnesses are posing an additional challenge to global medical suppliers. Given that there is a current shortage of syringes and medical supplies to certain parts of the world, added global demand for COVID-19 vaccines is bound to strain existing resources.
The World Health Organization (WHO) made a general comment in September 2020 that many Northern countries are encountering difficulties in securing flu vaccines.
Such circumstances show the difficulties and challenges imposed on the health system when facing multiple illnesses simultaneously at the population-level.
The world is being tested and challenged in a way that it has never been before and the effectiveness of global medical service suppliers will be a major factor in determining the scars left behind by COVID-19.
While shortages are already being felt in many areas of the world, companies and medical suppliers must step up their production in order to be prepared to meet the high levels of production (and distribution) that will follow as soon as the right COVID-19 vaccine is available.