The pandemic and its deluge of negative effects on all aspects of life on every corner of the globe positions the COVID-19 vaccine as the best development of 2020. The news of approval was an essential injection in the thinning lifeline of hope that many clutched in desperation. Even with hope refuelled, there is still mounting concern about COVID-19. New strains are being found, many places are having never- before-experienced spikes, there are new lockdowns and hiccups are being experienced in the vaccination process.
Although there was concern about persons being hesitant to take the vaccine, it seems that many are anxious to be vaccinated. The reports of seniors been camping outside overnight in long lines awaiting their turn to be vaccinated is indicative that many are willing to take the vaccine even with the commonly known side effects. This picture is but one of the indications that the process of distribution is not going as smoothly as we would have hoped. Then there is the constant reminder that the US has fallen very short of its distribution target. Having promised that by the end of December 2020, 20 million people would be inoculated the target is way off because up to December 31 only 2.8 million had received the vaccine. As the rest of the world watches, what lessons are to be learnt? What are the implications?
Another COVID 19 vaccination woe is the case of the 500 doses of the precious commodity that were deliberately left exposed, thus rendering them useless. A pharmacist in Wisconsin has been fired and charged but the motive for the crime remains a mystery. More than 50 persons were given the spoilt vaccine however they have all been contacted. Officials say they will not be hurt by the useless vaccine
Then there is the case of 42 persons in Boone County, in southwestern West Virginia, who received a monoclonal antibody treatment in error; they should have been given the COVID 19 vaccine. The cocktail they received was the same one US President Trump received when he tested positive for the virus. The treatment is designed to be administered intravenously, not by direct injection like the COVID 19 vaccine. There have been no reports of adverse effects in those who were mistakenly given the wrong medication.
Despite the blunders, there is still a high degree of hope as people all over the world are eagerly awaiting their turn to be vaccinated. To date the US and UK have had approved vaccines, in the meantime China has approved its own vaccine. Perhaps the haunting questions are which one will reach the developing countries? And, when?