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COVID-19: Vaccine Development & Distribution

22 October 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to more than 33 million people worldwide, sending the healthcare industry racing to find a safe and effective vaccine. With over 42 candidates now in human trials, the conversation is evolving from not only when a vaccine(s) will be available, but also how those vaccines will be distributed to effectively halt the spread of the virus. The episode opens with a discussion of the changes to the traditional vaccine development process being undertaken to meet the objectives of Operation Warp Speed and (05:11) the potential long-term impacts it could have on future vaccines. At (07:18), the conversation shifts to a discussion of potential challenges for local health organizations developing and executing COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans – from storage requirements (08:39), to the need for consecutive doses (10:15), to difficulties of reaching underserved patients (10:54). Innovative partnerships (12:00) will be critical in ensuring widespread distribution, the spread of public health information, and ensuring patient compliance (13:00). Capacity planning (13:17) and provider recruitment (13:38) will be critical as demand and scope change from phase to phase of distribution. The conversation closes (14:13) with a discussion of how public health providers, health plans, and other industry players might encourage adoption of future COVID-19 vaccines, the importance of building public trust in the safety of the vaccines being brought to market, spreading information on when and how to receive the vaccine (16:28), and communicating the long-term efforts that will be required to bring the virus under control (18:17). Based on public opinion polls (19:50), there will certainly be a need for public education on (21:03) potential side effects, (21:55) the risk/benefit ratio, and (23:05) the long-term safety protocols in place in order to ensure widespread adoption of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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