Step 1, Find Vaccine; Step 2, Make 300 Million Vials of It

Scaling up the manufacture of syringes and other medical products required to deliver a vaccine to millions of Americans will be just as important as the vaccine itself … 

May 1, 2020

The New York Times – In the midst of national shortages of testing swabs and protective gear, some medical suppliers and health policy experts are looking ahead to another extraordinary demand on manufacturing: Delivering a vaccine that could potentially end the pandemic.

Making a vaccine is not easy. More than two dozen companies have announced programs to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, but it may still take a year or more before one passes federal safety and efficacy tests in humans and becomes available to the public.

Here in the United States, more than 300 million people may need to be inoculated.

That means at least as many vials and syringes — or double that amount, if two shots are required. To meet that demand, companies will have to ramp up manufacturing; products that doctors give little thought to now could easily become obstacles to vaccine delivery in the future.

“We’re thinking about the vaccine, but what if the vials it is stored in, or rubber stoppers in the vial or the plungers in the syringes become the constraint?” said Prashant Yadav, who studies health care supply chains at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.

Timing the orders of medical products like syringes and all the raw materials required to make them will be essential.

Medical device manufacturers could increase inventory or find alternative supply chains for products that are running low, but everything will need to be systematically planned.

Adding the capacity to make millions more syringes could take a manufacturer as long as 18 months to complete such a large order, for example … Read more. 

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