After a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, billions of people are breathing a sigh of relief as vaccine programs are rolled out around the world. While the pandemic is, sadly, still on-going, the approval of numerous vaccines does offer a shred of light at the end of the tunnel.
To date, approval or emergency use authorization has been given in a high number of regions, including the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Despite this, many countries have yet to authorize the use of a vaccine. Although approval processes are underway in virtually all regions, concern over availability and accessibility of the vaccines is fueling concern.
Some less wealthy countries in Africa are reliant on the World Health’s Organization COVAX program, for example, but lack of funding could mean that citizens won’t receive a vaccine for a considerable period of time, even if approval is granted.
Which Countries Have Access to Vaccines?
Research teams and scientists from all around the world have worked tirelessly to develop safe, effective vaccines for COVID-19. Once created, however, it’s up to the company that owns the patent as to who their vaccines are sold to. Unsurprisingly, it’s the richest nations that have been available to purchase a large number of doses.
The EU, North America, and the UK have purchased around 43% of vaccines, for example. In contrast, the COVAX program, which aims to ensure every country has access to a vaccine, accounts for 9.7% of vaccine purchases.
However, it’s highly likely that additional vaccines will become available, and this could happen relatively quickly. With more vaccines currently being developed and existing production reaching 2 million doses per week for some vaccines, manufacturers are attempting to meet demand as quickly as possible.
Who Can Receive a Vaccine?
Due to the limited supplies, not everyone will be able to receive a vaccine straight away. In a bid to protect the most vulnerable and stop the spread of the virus, governments with access to vaccines are implementing a priority group system to determine who should receive the vaccine first.
In the UK, for example, adult care home residents are in the first priority group, followed by people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers. Similarly, in the U.S., healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents are in the first priority group, followed by frontline essential workers and people over the age of 75.
In most regions, children and young teens are not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine yet. Due to the increased risk to older people and those with underlying medical conditions, testing and roll out programs have been focused on this demographic of the population. However, further research and testing is being undertaken to ensure that children can be offered a vaccine in the future.
Who Will Administer the Vaccines?
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is set to be the biggest mass vaccination program ever, which means millions of healthcare workers and volunteers will be required to ensure everyone can receive the vaccine. Practicing physicians, nurses and medics will be assigned to local vaccination programs to ensure the vaccine can be administered to individuals swiftly. In addition to this, many retired medics are offering their services and volunteers are being clinically trained so that vaccine programs can get underway.
What’s the Impact on the Healthcare Industry?
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been one of the toughest years in recent history for the healthcare industry. Many countries were unprepared for the impact that COVID-19 has had, which meant a lack of facilities and resources left healthcare workers scrambling to deliver urgent care. While the physical and emotional toll on medics remains to be seen, it is likely that the ferocity of the pandemic, combined with a lack of resources, will have a long-term effect on those who have borne the brunt of it.
Despite this, the on-going health crisis has shone a new light on the global healthcare industry and even inspired swathes of people to pursue a career in the health and social care sectors. With many people set to begin medical careers, demand for training and degree programs is set to soar.
However, it isn’t just non-medics who have been inspired to use their skills, knowledge and talents to enhance the healthcare community. Practicing medical professionals are also re-committing to the cause and enhancing their skills with advanced qualifications, like online Nurse Anesthetist courses, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner training and online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner programs via distance learning.
Can You Decline a Vaccine?
In countries where the vaccine is available, individuals have the option to accept or decline when they are invited to have the COVID-19 vaccine. However, given the risks associated with the virus, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or physician if you’re worried about being vaccinated. Although the COVID-19 vaccine has been developed relatively quickly, it has been created in accordance with well-established safety frameworks.
When Will the Global Population Be Vaccinated?
Even though an increasing number of vaccines are in the process of being approved, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a vaccine will be widely available any time soon. In fact, it could take years for the entire global population to have access to a vaccine.
In addition to producing the vaccine itself, manufacturers need to ensure other elements of the supply chain, such as glass vials and cooling facilities, are available in high numbers. Furthermore, governments need to ensure they have enough healthcare personnel to administer vaccines in high numbers.
For less wealthy countries, these issues will be secondary to funding access to the vaccine itself. While programs like COVAX will help to ensure everyone in the world has access to a vaccine, it remains probable that wealthier countries will secure access to vaccines more quickly.
As approvals continue to be given and production continues to increase, however, the availability of vaccines should increase significantly in 2021 and, as a result, the largest global mass vaccination program in history can begin in earnest.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :