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Pfizer or Moderna? A COVID vaccine distribution dilemma

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Good afternoon, readers.

Say you stroll right into a hospital or different COVID vaccine distribution website. You qualify to get one since you’re a precedence group underneath native rules, and there are sufficient out there doses round so that you can get one. Which one would you truly obtain?

The Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) has already granted emergency authorization to 2 of them, one from Pfizer and its German accomplice BioNTech and the opposite from Moderna. However you’re unlikely to know which one of those you’ll be getting.

This pandemic has had a unifying theme: Triage. You get the sources to who wants them most. You allocate such sources accordingly. That was the case with coronavirus testing at the start of the outbreak. Now it’s the case for one of the crucial complicated immunization campaigns in historical past.

Whereas the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines share scientific roots, they’re nonetheless very completely different merchandise with completely different logistical necessities comparable to storage and dosing (although they’ve been proven to be equally efficient in medical trials). However location will almost certainly dictate precisely which shot you obtain.

Reside close to a serious, sprawling, subtle well being system? You may get Pfizer’s vaccine, which has ultra-cold storage necessities {that a} smaller hospital might not have the instruments to handle. Reside in a rural space? Maybe Moderna’s vaccine, which doesn’t require these extra specialised capabilities.

Maintaining monitor of all that is key since mixing up two completely different vaccines may very well be harmful (a reality which has compelled well being programs to work with digital well being report distributors to keep watch over who’s getting what).

All of it boils right down to flexibility, and extra vaccines will ultimately arrive to the market. However the disparate methods for COVID vaccine deployment might additionally breed some confusion.

On a associated be aware, the worldwide pandemic has uncovered deficiencies in well being programs all over the place and has highlighted the significance of advancing with extra patient-centric options.

What’s extra, the transformative spirit and velocity of change—from therapeutics to the latest vaccine improvement and deployment—have demonstrated that well being programs could be extra environment friendly in assembly calls for as we speak and tomorrow. You can join Fortune for a special conversation on these topics and more, presented in partnership with Roche, on January 21 at 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET.

Learn on for the day’s information, and see you subsequent week.

Sy Mukherjee
sy.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy