Task Force to Tackle COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Challenges
Multiple COVID-19 vaccines have been developed within the past year and found to be safe and effective, stated GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, on May 14, 2021.
These achievements have been followed by a massive effort to scale up the manufacturing of the innovative COVID-19 vaccines. Production output is posed to exceed 10 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of 2021.
However, the extraordinary scale-up and scale-out of vaccine manufacturing are in jeopardy if bottlenecks in the supply of raw materials and trade barriers impacting the supply chain cannot be resolved swiftly, said GAVI.
These issues were recently discussed by manufacturers, suppliers, and international organizations at the Global COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chain & Manufacturing Summit in March 2021, hosted by Chatham House, COVAX, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, and Associations, Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network, and Biotechnology Innovation Organization.
To address these concerns, the “COVAX Manufacturing Task Force” has been established to identify and resolve issues impeding equitable access to vaccines through COVAX.
The co-leads of COVAX will spearhead the Task Force – the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, WHO, Gavi, and UNICEF, which will work in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others.
To advance the objectives of the Task Force, it will also seek to collaborate with additional partners, where necessary, such as specific industry and manufacturing supply partners, Governments, regional bodies like the African Union, European Commission, G7 and G20, and critical institutions such as the Medicines Patent Pool, World Trade Organization, Pan American Health Organization, and the Africa CDC.
This Task Force will urgently address shortages of raw materials and single-use materials and expedite cross-border transit of these materials, vaccine components, and finished products. It will also seek to match up manufacturers who are experiencing specific shortages with those who might have the necessary supplies.
As part of this process, the Task Force will carefully consider how these objectives can be fulfilled while mitigating unintended impacts on other vaccines and health products. The Short-Term Objectives are as follows:
- They are facilitating the establishment of global trade processes for free movement of single-use and raw materials, vaccine components, assay reagents, and skilled workforce required for vaccine manufacture by resolving the impact of import-export authorizations or bans and other cross-border trade restrictions,
- And creating voluntary partnerships to improve visibility of the supply of manufacturing inputs,
- Identifying and voluntary matchmaking of Fill/Finish capacity between manufacturers across multiple regions, and
- Utilizing global vaccine capacity to support vaccine development partners’ work and facilitate voluntary technology transfers between partnering manufacturers.
An overview of the current COVID-19 vaccine global landscape is available on this CoronavirusToday webpage.
As of May 17, 2021, the U.S. CDC and FDA had Authorized three COVID-19 vaccines. There are now 123 million fully vaccinated US residents, representing about 37% of the population.
Created in 2000, Gavi is a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes research-based vaccine news.