Covid-19: Three ways to improve vaccine distribution, according to researchers

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  • Several Covid-19 vaccine distribution proposals have been developed
  • However, a team of researchers noted that these proposals are all flawed
  • The researchers suggested three ways in which these proposed methods may be improved

While there have been several proposals regarding the way Covid-19 vaccines should be distributed, they all fall short when it comes to ensuring that vaccines are distributed fairly.

A team of researchers came up with three ways to ensure that vaccines are distributed more fairly and effectively so that poorer nations can also reap the benefits. Their paper was published in BMJ Global Health

“Although many people in rich countries will receive a vaccine for Covid-19 this year, many people in poor countries will likely have to wait years to get one,” Binghamton University professor Nicole Hassoun stated.

“Ethical vaccine allocation requires closing this gap and ensuring that everyone can access a vaccine as soon as possible. We should increase vaccine manufacturing, distribution and uptake. Rich countries should not get to prioritise their populations.”

The researchers noted that the current proposals are helpful, but that they have some critical limitations. 

Three suggestions to strengthen vaccine distribution proposals

1. Firstly, the researchers suggested that proposals for fair vaccine distributions must address the health problems of individuals, and should not discriminate against individuals based on their location. This means that distribution proposals should not allow rich nations to hoard vaccines or prioritise their own people.

2. The focal point of allocation principles must be the direct and indirect health effects of Covid-19. “A vaccine allocation policy based on a desire to mitigate the negative health impact of the pandemic must explicitly aim to reduce all mortality and morbidity, not just morbidity and mortality directly attributable to Covid-19.” 

3. In order to have the greatest global health impact, countries need to be assisted in the process of vaccine production, distribution and consumption. 

Hassoun also made a final suggestion to assist with fair vaccination distribution:

“Many proposals for equitable allocation let rich countries prioritise their populations. We must combat this scarcity mindset and expand access rather than just shift resources around.”

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