If a coronavirus vaccine arrives, can the world make enough?
As the world searches for a way to end the coronavirus pandemic, the race is on to find and produce a vaccine. Some optimistic forecasts suggest that one could be available in 12–18 months — but researchers are already warning that it might not be physically possible to make enough vaccine for everyone, and that rich countries might hoard supplies.
The production facilities needed will depend on which kind of vaccine turns out to work best. Some researchers say governments and private funders should give vaccine manufacturers money to ramp up their production capacity in advance, even if these facilities are never used. Although money has been pledged to help with this, the promises fall short of the billions of dollars that public-health experts say is needed.
Resources for coronavirus will also have to be balanced against the need for other vaccines. Manufacturing facilities around the world can churn out hundreds of millions of doses of influenza vaccine each year, and companies are used to stepping up production at times of high demand.