PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Health experts are calling the quick development of the vaccines a scientific triumph, but rolling them out to the public has been anything but easy. Now a professor at Arizona State University is studying Arizona’s COVID-19 vaccine supply chain.
“Right now, what you see is you see a mismatch between demand and supply,” said Jeff Macias, a professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business.
Macias says communication issues between manufacturers and different levels of government have likely caused the most delays in the rollout of the vaccine.
“Amazingly enough, communication is generally the biggest issue with your supply chains,” Macias said.
Macias also says the need for cold chain storage has made the supply chain process more cumbersome. Still, there simply isn’t enough vaccine being manufactured to go around.
“We do need more vaccine. There’s not enough of it in this country at this time to meet the demand,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, Banner Health’s chief clinical officer.
Currently, only Pfizer and Moderna’s two-shot vaccines are being distributed in the U.S., but there’s hope that the sing-jab Johnson & Johnson vaccine will soon receive emergency approval.
“That vaccine does not have the same cold chain storage requirements that Pfizer and Moderna have, so that makes it a little bit easier to deal with, and also it’s a single dose, so we don’t have to deal with the appointment that comes 21 or 28 days after the first dose,” Dr. Bessel said.
Even without enough vaccine for everyone who wants it, Macias says he’s been impressed by Arizona’s two mass-vaccination sites at State Farm Stadium and Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The professor says he received his first vaccine dose at the State Farm Stadium site and was struck by the efficiency.
But he also has concerns about scaling-up these sites when it’s time for more people to get vaccinated.
“When we expand everything to allow everybody to go through the queue, you’re going to see the same supply-demand issues that we’re seeing today, and it might get a little bit worse than it gets better,” Macias.
Still, Macias believes manufacturers, the federal government and states like Arizona will eventually come together to get everyone vaccinated.
“We will be more efficient, and there will be a better flow,” Macias said. “It just may take a little more time than we think.”
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