When is a Vaccine Expected?
Because of the limitations that COVID-19 has led to, based on both the real and perceived risk of catching it, a vaccine protecting people from COVID-19 has become an essential priority. Pharmaceutical companies recognize the potential value in being the first to develop an effective vaccine, while many government leaders are eager to avoid continued economic impact and safely open businesses and public places.
There are over 100 potential COVID-19 vaccines being developed across the world, with at least eight in human clinical trials. Optimistic projections indicate that a vaccine may be available as soon as fall of 2020. Some more conservative estimates project that a vaccine will take at least 12-18 months to develop or may even take several years to develop. While typically vaccines do take years to develop, the COVID-19 vaccine will likely be developed quickly, due to the unprecedented response and high amount of spending that has gone into managing the spread of COVID-19 coupled with a strong public desire for the protection a vaccine would provide.
How You Can Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine Arrival
It is impossible to predict the different ways that the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine will impact clinicians, however, there some reasonable assumptions that can be made. The first is that a COVID-19 vaccination will likely be a very desired treatment once it is released. This high demand will lead to clinicians needing to have as many vaccines available as possible for their patients. Clinicians will also need to consider the need for supplies such as syringes and needles. While it seems unlikely these supplies will run low, the COVID-19 pandemic has already revealed previous unanticipated weakness in medical supply chains.
COVID-19 Vaccine Storage
Vaccines almost always require refrigerated or frozen storage. It is not possible to predict how a potential COVID-19 vaccine will need to be stored until it has been developed, however, if such a vaccine follows the norms of most vaccines, it will at least need to be refrigerated.
Although doctor’s offices and pharmacies are used to the traditional concepts of storing vaccines, the volumes of vaccines that will be needed may create stress on existing storage space, and even small clinical providers may find themselves needing to store hundreds of vaccines at once.
While the sheer volume of vaccines that will be in demand is one consideration of storage, providers also need to consider that the supply chain for COVID-19 vaccines will, initially, be very unpredictable. Practices and pharmacies may only occasionally have the ability to order vaccines, and may need to order large quantities when an opportunity presents itself. Those ordering large quantities of vaccines will need to have the storage space to accommodate larger orders, and may need to freeze some vaccines, if possible, to lengthen the lifespan of vaccines from a single order.
Consequences of Improper Vaccine Storage
Failing to have enough COVID-19 vaccine storage options available can have several negative consequences for clinicians and the patients they serve. One potential consequence is that providers may not be able to order the needed amount of vaccines when availability occurs. This results in under-vaccination of your area’s population and could lead to lengthening of social restrictions and suppression of economic activity.
Failing to have medical-grade refrigeration or freezer options could also lead to unconventional storage methods that do not maintain the viability of the vaccines, affecting their efficacy and resulting in a waste of valuable treatments and financial resources.
Planning Ahead for COVID-19 Vaccines
Forward-thinking clinical providers should start planning now for the potential increased storage needs that a COVID-19 vaccine could create. Just as obtaining PPE during the start of the pandemic was almost impossible, obtaining medical-grade refrigeration and freezers may become more difficult once the need for them occurs when COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed.
Planning now to ensure you have adequate storage resources will allow your practice or pharmacy to be prepared for changes that are likely to occur in the near future and help you to be ahead of events as they unfold, instead of reacting to them. By planning ahead, you will be better equipped to serve your community’s medical needs and play a meaningful role in your local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are here as a resource for you and your patients during this difficult crisis. Call us today at 1.800.218.7613 or contact us using our contact form to learn more about our storage solutions for the COVID-19 vaccines that your practice or pharmacy may need to accommodate soon.
Disclaimer: K2 Scientific does not provide medical advice and our content is intended for informational purposes only. Our content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any disease or disorder. Specific medical questions should be directed to licensed healthcare providers or to an appropriate healthcare agency or entity and clinical practice or medical decisions should only be made using the advice of licensed healthcare professionals or sources recognized as medical authorities.