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COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Challenges

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the approval of not only one but several effective vaccines has given us reason to be hopeful. But we now face a new set of logistical and ethical challenges in our unprecedented effort to inoculate the global population.

“This is the largest mass vaccination campaign and the most rapid one in human history,” says Andrew Heinrich, a lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health. “And that creates supply chain challenges and distribution challenges.” The first hurdle standing between these life-saving vaccines and the general public are a myriad of supply chain complexities – from manufacturing to transportation to storage. Although significant, these supply chain issues are all surmountable, says viral epidemiologist and Director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, Dr. Saad B. Omer. The larger concern is that these supply chain constraints make it impossible for us to vaccinate everyone at once. Which means we must make strategic and equitable decisions about who to vaccinate first. “We are in a position where it’s necessary to decide who to vaccinate first and all of humanity is benefited when those at greatest risk get vaccinated first,” says Heinrich.

Watch this video to learn more about overcoming distribution challenges and how equity plays a crucial role in determining the success of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.