BOSTON — The entire world is racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine but that doesn’t mean everyone across the globe will have access to it anytime soon.
The CEO of the world’s largest vaccine producer is predicting that the world’s population may not be fully vaccinated until 2024.
Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum of India, warns that it’s likely “going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccination”.
He told the Financial Times that companies aren’t upping production capacity quickly enough.
According to Poonawalla, the world may need 15 billion doses if the vaccine requires two doses to work.
Health experts in the United States have speculated that the vaccine could potentially be available to the American public by early 2021.
“What’s going to be critically important is that we pair the vaccine with other non-pharmaceutical interventions like physical distancing and mask wearing so we can maximize the benefit of the vaccine early on,” said Samuel Scarpino, epidemiologist and assistant professor at Northeastern University’s Network Science Institute.
The Food and Drug Administration has said once a vaccine is shown to be safe and at least 50 percent effective, it could be approved for use in the U.S.
“There is a need for the FDA to review the data, taking lots of time to do the statistics and looking for any adverse effects,” said Dr. Barry Bloom, former dean of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dr. Barry Bloom said the risk of rushing an emergency use authorization is jeopardizing public trust.
“If this vaccine doesn’t work or has terrible adverse effects and has cleared without data being used, I think there will be huge skepticism even beyond what currently exists,” said Dr. Bloom.
Earlier this month, the CDC asked health officials to prepare to distribute a vaccine to front-line workers as soon as late October or early November.
Some have questioned whether the Trump administration could be rushing a vaccine to win political points ahead of November’s presidential election.
Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts