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Local Pharmacy and Global System: Two Ways to Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

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As the COVID-19 vaccine slowly penetrates the arms of people around the world, two teachers in the northeast are looking at ways to make distribution at the regional and global levels more equitable.

Todd brown, Vice-chairman of the Pharmacy and Health Systems Department, states that states need to prioritize smaller neighboring pharmacies over large chains in order to distribute vaccines when supply is low and demand is high.

And Brook bakerLaw professors studying access to intellectual property and medicine have taken steps to encourage global cooperation so that wealthy countries do not scoop up all available vaccine doses and leave poor countries behind. Insist.

Left, Todd Brown, Vice Chairman of Pharmacy and Health Systems Science. Photo courtesy of Ruby Wallau / Northeastern University Right, Brook Baker, a law professor studying access to intellectual property and medicine.Photo by the northeast

While working on the solution from different angles, both Brown and Baker state that the issue of unfair and inefficient vaccine distribution affects everyone. The slower the vaccination process and the more patchwork you have, the longer it will take for the virus to mutate and spread. ..

“There is a crisis of inequality that plagues us in multiple areas,” says Baker. “But certainly in the context of a pandemic like COVID-19, it makes us all vulnerable to disease.”

Vaccine distribution is a global challenge. Wealthy countries such as Canada and the United States have been able to secure hundreds of millions of vaccines (the Government of Canada has enough vaccines to inoculate the entire population more than four times). Over 130 countries Not yet single dose.

“This is a problem for all of us,” says Baker. “The more people who get infected, the more chances the virus will mutate and the more likely it is that the first vaccine will not work.”

World Health Organization mobilized COVAX, An international effort to make vaccine distribution more equitable around the world. And Baker is looking at some other possible solutions.

Photo by AP / Jae C. Hong

Biden administration is already Financial assistance COVAX. In addition, Baker said the United States could expand vaccine production and enact a Defense Production Act to procure the supplies needed to produce vaccines. Pfizer-The three major vaccines created by BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson were developed in the United States. Enhancing their production could mean more vaccinations for people around the world.

The National Institutes of Health may also attach contractual requirements to vaccine research funding that requires private companies to share intellectual property with other pharmaceutical companies, Baker said.

“Frankly, there are many tools that a strong government response can produce, which will help our domestic and global supply in the long run,” he says.

For Brown, who is also the secretary general of Massachusetts Independent Pharmacist Association, The solution comes from the community. The state relies on a network of independent pharmacies locally because small pharmacies are agile and pharmacists working there have a better understanding of the population they serve compared to large chain companies. He says he was able to distribute the vaccine to his customers.

Brown states that some states have used the model. In West Virginia, public health authorities relied on independent pharmacies to distribute vaccinations throughout rural and elderly communities.To great success..

Independent pharmacists tend to have more personal relationships within the community, Brown says. This can be important when distributing vaccinations to people who may hesitate to get vaccinated.

“Often people just want to talk to someone they can trust. In many communities, pharmacists are the people they can count on,” he says.

Chain pharmacies have their place in the deployment, says Brown.

“The strength of a big pharmacy is when it’s time to vaccinate the general public, and when our vaccine supply meets demand,” he says.

For media inquiriesPlease contact Jessica Hair. [email protected] Or 617-373-5718.

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