Beyond ample supply, hurdles abound in the race to vaccinate the globe

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Beyond ample supply, hurdles abound in the race to vaccinate the globe

Published date

July 8, 2021

President Biden promised to send 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 50 countries by the end of June, but only half have been distributed so far due to what the White House calls “herculean” logistical challenges, ranging from regulatory hurdles to ensuring that countries are ready to deliver doses into arms before they spoil. In the race between vaccines and variants, these distribution and delivery challenges will be the determining factors in whether new and even more dangerous variants emerge that could pierce our hard-won vaccine immunity.  

Biden’s meeting with G7 leaders in Europe last month took steps to head off this crisis, setting the goal of vaccinating the world by 2022. To get there, they pledged to unconditionally donate to the poorest countries 870 million doses (including 500 million from the U.S.) of the high-quality vaccines that have substantially reduced cases and deaths in the U.S. and Europe, with at least half to be delivered before the end of 2021. This was a significant advance in U.S. and allied vaccine diplomacy as compared with Russia and particularly China, which has donated 25 million doses of vaccines that appear less effective in preventing outbreaks caused by COVID variants.  

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Duke-Margolis Affiliated Authors

Mark McClellan

Mark McClellan, MD, PhD

Director of Margolis Center
Robert J. Margolis, MD, Professor of Business, Medicine and Policy
Margolis Executive Core Faculty


Krishna Udayakumar, MD, MBA

Director of Post-Graduate Education Initiatives, Margolis Center
Associate Professor of Global Health and Medicine
Margolis Executive Core Faculty
2020 Intern Mentor