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How past vaccine races can help win this




Healthcare workers are waiting for the first dose of Pfizer BioNTech Vaccine Covid-19 at the National Medical Center Vaccine Center in Seoul, South Korea. There’s a vaccine breakthrough a year or so after Covid-19, but it’s not yet close to the goal line. Eradication is far away.

There’s a vaccine breakthrough a year or so after Covid-19, but it’s not yet close to the goal line. Eradication is far away. There are too many unanswered questions. We do not fully understand how immunity works after illness or vaccination, and we do not fully understand the transmission. Cases are not tracked. The goal of today’s shot is to reduce mortality and keep the medical system up and running. Children are not vaccinated for months. However, in the end the target shifts. Victory requires high doses and even regular doses, while tackling serious skepticism.

When that happens, it’s worth considering that the world was here before. There are lessons to bring into the 21st century.

At the most basic level, it is clear that central government-led policy, or leadership, is important at every stage, from supporting vaccine development to dissemination. The official decision to defer polio vaccination did not guarantee cure, but it would have taken much longer without support. The same is true for Covid-19. In the United States, Operation Warp Speed, an effort of more than $ 12 billion to fund vaccines, was a rare and bright spot in the Trump administration’s response to the otherwise tragic outbreak. The investment in manufacturing could have saved months. It’s a shame that the same staff wasted a lot of time and couldn’t properly plan the actual injection.

A healthy strategy should include ensuring the medical structure needed even in the least wealthy countries. Without it, routine immunization, the cold chain to store vaccines, timely testing, surveillance, and surveillance—the basic virus of Covid-19 and subsequent control—would be impossible. It’s a priority that has already been ignored for a long time.

Good governance helps, but bad decisions cause disproportionate and permanent damage. Unlike Covid-19, the first issue in the US campaign against polio was dissemination. President Dwight Eisenhower’s administration did not simply see distribution as its role. It was “socialized medicine” and was opposed by the then Secretary of Health and Welfare. A source quoted in David Oshinsky’s “Polio: An American Story” suggested that the assignment program “sets an unwanted precedent.” Shortages plagued early campaigns, as did access inequality in the days when US schools were just abolishing racism.

However, the situation has worsened since then. In a hurry, a test failure caused a contaminated vaccine from one manufacturer, Cutter, to pass through polio and spread to children and their communities, paralyzing about 200 people and killing 10 people. Subsequent suspensions meant that over 28,000 almost avoidable cases were reported in 1955, Oshinsky wrote. The incident and the obfuscated official statement surrounding it have caused deep anxiety and still fuel anti-vaxxers today. It has brought much stricter regulations and benefits, both domestically and internationally. It also opened the door to predatory proceedings that kept large pharmaceutical companies away from vaccines and was considered high risk and low compensation.

Trust is essential to success. According to the city’s health commissioner, reading the 1947 smallpox horror report in New York is impressive today, during which time about 6.4 million people were inoculated within a month, almost two weeks. It was. This is spectacular compared to the current pace of Covid-19 vaccination. City-level authorities have been able to make decisions that may not be possible today, and there are questions about the exact numbers. But a general belief in science, a clear message, and reports like President Harry Truman rolling up his sleeves helped stop the spread. In 1956, Elvis helped fight polio when he was vaccinated live on television.

Whether it’s a politically polarized western society or a region like Pakistan or Afghanistan where false information and threats are driving the epidemic of wild polio, it’s difficult to rebuild that trust. .. In 2003, rumors that the polio vaccine was contaminated with fertility drugs in northern Nigeria caused a catastrophic boycott. Five years later, the country accounted for nearly 90% of the world’s Type 1 wild polio cases. Countering this means swift response to education and community concerns, especially in countries where priorities may compete. Vaccine distrust dates back centuries, but is far more harmful in the age of the Internet. It requires a community presence where peers can answer questions and concerns.

It is imperative to reach everyone with a reason, not just in developing countries. Not to mention coercion, it’s not contempt. Quoting a member of the British Parliament who discussed smallpox in 1807, he still has the freedom to do the wrong thing.

History teaches us that the best vaccination efforts are based on cooperation and coordination. We know that the United States and the Soviet Union worked together during the height of the Cold War to help test oral polio vaccines. In the 1960s, Soviet lyophilization technology helped provide developing countries with doses of smallpox vaccine and received financial support from the United States. Since then, global efforts have dramatically reduced the number of polio cases. Even if there was no emerging world, it could have happened more easily. Persistent or cost did not dominate concerns for too long. Live vaccines are very important, but coupled with inadequate vaccination practices, vaccine-derived polio is on the rise.

Over the past few months, we have found that investment and commitment enable rapid action. A complete victory is more elusive. Aidan O’Leary, Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization, emphasized to me the importance of aiming for zero cases, not a scope goal. Reaching 50% or 70% coverage is relatively easy, and Western countries will soon recover — but the countdown to zero means that even the most vulnerable will not be overlooked, which is more. It Is difficult. It requires sustainable investment and momentum.

The smallpox vaccine was discovered in 1796. After the false start, the enhanced WHO eradication program was launched in 1967. There is a question about coercion, but the illness was defeated by 1980. Not all efforts have been equally successful because of the illness. It was difficult to control and the vaccine was not completely effective or the government stumbled. The economic impact and focus of Covid-19 suggests that success is more likely than ever. Learning lessons from history can make it a victory for everyone.

Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist dealing with product, environmental, social and governance issues. This column does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

© 2021 Bloomberg LP


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