Daily US Times: People will likely need two doses of coronavirus vaccine, not just one, when a coronavirus vaccine comes on the market. This could cause real problems.
Some of the potential problems are logistical. Difficulties procuring protective gear and test kits and throughout the pandemic, point to supply chain issues that could also plague distributing double doses of vaccines for an entire country.
Other potential concerns are more human as convincing people to show up to get a vaccine not once, but twice, could be a formidable undertaking.
Dr. Kelly Moore, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University, said: “There’s no question that this is going to be the most complicated, largest vaccination program in human history, and that’s going to take a level of effort, a level of sophistication, that we’ve never tried before.”
A double dose for a one-two punch
So far, Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s effort to get a Covid-19 vaccine on the market, has given money to six pharmaceutical companies.
Two of those companies, Pfizer and Moderna, are now in Phase 3, large-scale clinical trials. The 30,000 volunteers in each of the trials are getting two doses, with Pfizer spacing their shots out 21 days apart and Moderna spacing theirs out by 28 days.
This month, AstraZeneca is expected to start Phase 3 trials, and their Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials used two doses given 28 days apart.
Novavax, another vaccine, also has yet to begin Phase 3 trials but used two doses in their earlier trials.
Some participants of Johnson & Johnson’s upcoming Phase 3 trials will take one dose and others will take two doses.
Sanofi has not made any announcements about whether their vaccine will be in one or two doses.
It’s not surprising that the coronavirus vaccine will likely need two doses. Many vaccines — including childhood vaccines for Hepatitis A and chickenpox and an adult vaccine for shingles — require two doses.
Some require even more — children get five doses of the DTaP vaccine, which protects them against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
There’s also a precedent for developing mass vaccination programs within a short notice. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the spring of 2009, when a new strain of flu emerged, a vaccine program vaccinated 161 million Americans within months.
That means the upcoming coronavirus vaccine program on a mass scale will be difficult — but not impossible — to pull off.
Moore said: “I have faith we can do it, but it is a big ask and we have to work with people to make it work.”