Good afternoon, readers.
Let’s say you walk into a hospital or other COVID vaccine distribution site. You are eligible to get one because you are a priority group by local regulations and there are enough doses available to get one. Which one would you actually receive?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already issued an emergency permit to two of them, one from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech and the other from Moderna. But you are unlikely to know which of these you are getting.
This pandemic has had a unifying theme: Triage. You get the resources for those who need them most. You allocate such resources accordingly. That was the case with coronavirus testing at the beginning of the outbreak. Now it is the case for one of the most complex immunization campaigns in history.
While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have scientific roots, they are still very different products with different logistics requirements such as storage and dosing (although they have been shown to be equally effective in clinical trials). But the location will almost certainly determine exactly which recording you receive.
Do you live near a large, sprawling, sophisticated health system? You may get the vaccine from Pfizer, which has ultra-cold storage requirements and a smaller hospital may not have the resources to manage it. Do you live in a rural area? Perhaps the Moderna vaccine, which doesn’t require these more specialized options.
Keeping track of all this is essential, as confusing two different vaccines can be dangerous (a fact that has forced health systems to partner with electronic health record providers to keep tabs on who is getting what).
It all comes down to flexibility, and more vaccines will eventually hit the market. But the differing strategies for the use of COVID vaccines can also cause some confusion.
Incidentally, the global pandemic has exposed deficiencies in health systems everywhere and highlighted the importance of advancing with more patient-centered solutions.
In addition, the transforming spirit and the speed of change – from therapies to the recent development and application of vaccines – have shown that health systems can be more efficient to meet the demands of today and tomorrow. You can participate The Washington City Times for a special talk on these topics and more, presented in collaboration with Roche, on January 21 from 11am to 12pm. ET.
Read on for the news of the day and see you next week.