Covid-19: Will there be a vaccine for everyone?

A few months ago we were able to contemplate, inside and outside our country, the image of politicians photographing themselves next to planes, recently landed, loaded with masks. This image, in my modest opinion, is very unfortunate. It supposes the implicit recognition of lack of preparation, infrastructure and industrial capacity of a territory to manufacture a simple mask.

That is nothing compared to what we are going to see when COVID vaccine begins to be manufactured and distributed. It is very possible that the photographs with planes loaded with the precious vaccine are our daily bread.

The first doses

Everything seems to indicate that the vaccine will be ready in the last quarter of this year or at the latest in the first of the following. But unfortunately, despite the titanic effort of the Spanish researchers and the arrival of government financial aid, through the emergency route, it will be difficult to recover the land that had not been traveled in the years and even decades before. It is more than likely that the vaccine will reach us from outside, at least during the first months or years.

Countries like The USA have reached an agreement with the modern pharmaceutical company to increase the volume of production when it starts and ensure the first million doses. The European Commission is trying to do the same with other laboratories, centrally for its member countries, and some other states are even doing it on their own.

In Spain it is not known how the vaccine will be distributed

When that time comes we will have to ask ourselves new questions. Will there be a vaccine for everyone? Who will be administered first? To the first question it seems that the answer is a clear 'no'. Then we come to the next question. It seems that there is no document published in our country —or at least I have not been able to find it—, where the distribution criteria of a hypothetical vaccine against COVID are raised. In our neighboring country, France, there is.

France's plan

According to Le Monde, on July 24 a report prepared by the 15 members of the scientific council, the COVID vaccine committee and other members, gathered by the French Ministry of Health, was published on its website. The report analyzes the vaccination strategy and sets priorities months before it begins.

This report defines as priority groups that comprise approximately half of the French population. Firstly, people exposed by their profession, such as healthcare personnel. Then, people at risk due to their age or a chronic disease – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, etc. -. Third, people who live in a precarious state, such as seasonal workers, immigrants. Professionals who work in contact with the public such as restaurants, taxi drivers, schools, shops, among others, are also considered a priority group in France.

The report also states the full financial support of health insurance and full transparency, to avoid misgivings and mistrust towards the vaccine and its rapid period of development by the population.

The most affected

In USA, as published by the 'New York Times', they are considering that the distribution is made through a lottery system. Yes, you read that right! Of course, a 'weighted lottery'. That is to say: define population groups with a similar risk and distribute the vaccine randomly in them, since there will not be for everyone. Apparently, the system has been used in several states with Remdesivir, which is a drug used to treat COVID. They have always been very practical there.

As we can imagine, poor or developing countries are the worst performers in this race. But let us not forget that this pandemic is a global evil and should not be left aside. There is the well-known Network of Vaccine Manufacturers in Developing Countries (DCVMN), made up of 40 network manufacturing companies that must be activated to avoid abandoning them to their fate.

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