At the time of this writing, two companies, Pfizer Inc. and Moderna, Inc., have announced promising early results from Phase 3 of their COVID-19 vaccine trials. Additional promising results are hoped for from Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca soon, and perhaps from others later. This is good news.
Developing a vaccine is one thing, however. Distributing it is another. Indeed, managing the COVID-19 supply chain will pose tremendous logistical challenges for health care providers and at all levels of government unequalled for any other pharmaceutical product in history – and the stakes could not be higher. A complicating factor is, undoubtedly, the turnover of presidential administrations. And while a carefully coordinated handoff from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration would no doubt be ideal, that may not be forthcoming. However, this turnover also provides an opportunity to reconsider and optimize the role the federal government could play in distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the U.S. population.
Recently, we wrote an article in Law360, describing “Key Government Tools for Addressing National PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Shortages.” Many of the observations in this article concerning how the federal government can normalize and optimize the supply of PPE to health care providers hold true for COVID-19 vaccine distribution as well. You can read our thoughts on this issue at our Global Supply Chain Law Blog, available here.