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.