Moderna aims to make 1 b. coronavirus vaccine doses per year

If there are only enough vaccines for a fraction of the world who will get them first?

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., May 18, 2020 (photo credit: BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., May 18, 2020
(photo credit: BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)
Moderna Inc. announced on Thursday that as Phase 3 of its clinical study is being finalized, starting in 2021 the company is on track to create between 500 million to 1 billion doses of its coronavirus vaccine.
“We look forward to beginning our Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 with some 30,000 participants in July,” said Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at Moderna. “Moderna is committed to advancing the clinical development of mRNA-1273 as safely and quickly as possible to demonstrate our vaccine’s ability to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease.”
Even with the company's goal of producing 1 billion doses, this does not mean that it will be able to make 1 billion vaccines annually. In Moderna's tests, one person has been given two 100-microgram shots, meaning just 500 million people could be vaccinated with 1 billion doses, according to Axios.
Assuming that the vaccine is approved, with 7.8 billion people on Earth, Moderna’s production capabilities will only produce enough doses for a fraction of the population, leaving many to wonder how and to whom these vaccines will be distributed.
"The very rich … will do anything to get it, and there will be a black market," Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University told Axios. He also said that he’s "200% sure" of this scenario after what happened when ventilators were in short supply.
Axios also asserted that, as Moderna is an American company, it is likely the first doses produced would be given to Americans.
On May 15, US President Donald Trump said that "when a vaccine is ready, the US government will deploy every plane, truck, and soldier required to help distribute it to the American people as quickly as possible."
"The problem with some of the timelines I've seen with Operation Warp Speed is that they probably aren't realistic in terms of the full testing of the vaccine that has to occur before we starting thinking about scaling up and distribution," Andy Pekosz, professor of microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University told Axios.
Operation Warp Speed is the Trump administration's official effort to combat the coronavirus.



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