Not only that, but Americans are feeling pretty good about the vaccine, too. About 69 percent of Americans had either already gotten the vaccine or were willing to get one when they could, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center
The next big challenge will be actually getting that ample vaccine supply into those willing arms. And just because the government predicts it will have enough supplies secured by May 31st, that doesn’t mean that every adult in America will be vaccinated in the next 86 days.
“The vaccine race now is not a race out of the lab. It’s a race to the patient,” said Robin Townley, the head of special projects logistics for A.P. Moller-Maersk, in an interview with Science News from December
. “It is the largest product launch in the history of humankind.”
The figurative “last mile” that separates a patient from their shot is going to be the most involved part of this entire process. Shipping larger amounts of vaccines from a factory to a distribution center is relatively straightforward, even with some of the vaccines needing to stay extremely cold.
But then they have to get from large centers to pharmacies, nursing homes, mass-vaccination sites, and anywhere else that’s getting vaccines. That means having enough delivery vehicles on the road and enough freezer and refrigerator space cleared out. It means backup generators and detailed communication plans
for the inevitable moment when something goes wrong. It means finding better ways to make vaccine appointments
so that people can access vaccine supplies. Above all, it’s going to need a trained, fast workforce that’s able to transport the vaccine, store it, and administer it safely.
Over the next few months, the things to watch will be not just the number of vaccines available, but also the number of vaccines administered. It’s still going to be a huge challenge, but there’s an end in sight. It might still be difficult to make travel plans
and the summer could be up in the air — but if
vaccinations go well, and if
we can curb the spread of highly transmissible variants (big if), this fall could look a lot more like normal
Here’s what else happened this week.