The latest editorial from the editors of the Washington Post provides a pretty good example of why I think that the inoculating process will take a lot longer than people seem to think:
THE WORLD HEALTH Organization’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned in August that no country could afford to go it alone in fighting the pandemic. Nations already depend on global supply chains for everything from diagnostic testing to personal protective equipment, he said, and they must avoid “vaccine nationalism” when it comes to the most powerful tool to fight covid-19. When the Group of 20 leaders held their virtual summit meeting last weekend, they again declared their intent not to hoard lifesaving vaccines, saying, “We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people.”
But as vaccines come closer to reality, wealthy nations of the world have already taken care of their own needs and signed contracts to buy up hundreds of millions of vaccine doses. And the poor? A global risk-sharing procurement initiative to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines, the Covax Facility, could bring them protection, but only if it can get sufficient funding in 2021. This is the world’s best chance to help the poorest populations confront the pandemic, being led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The world’s wealthiest countries are on the verge of a science triumph with the arrival of an effective vaccine in less than a year. But in this moment of need, the haves should also extend a hand to the have-nots. As Dr. Tedros said in August, “No one is safe until everyone is safe.”
In other words don’t just think in terms of 330 million people in the U. S. but in terms of 7.5 billion people in the world. Assume that the certified and approved vaccine makers can produce enough vaccine in aggregate to inoculate 2 billion people. That means it would take at least 4 years to inoculate everybody. If you think they can produce more, you’ll need to provide evidence since that’s not what the pharma companies themselves are saying.