With the number of brand-new cases of COVID-19 continuing to set records in the U.S. and deaths from the disease increasing daily, public health officials and politicians have increasingly pinned their hopes on a vaccine to get rid of the pandemic. Dr. Uché Blackstock, Yahoo News medical factor and Advancing Health Equity CEO, describes the issues involved in developing a vaccine and how one may be deployed to the basic public.
[MUSIC PLAYING] UCHE BLACKSTOCK: So right now, were at about 145 vaccines that are in development; about 21 are in medical trials. But generally vaccines take numerous years to research study and develop. Like, I believe the mumps vaccine took about three to 4 years. And so this concept of establishing a vaccine within less than a years time but by the end of 2020 is truly– its rather enthusiastic.
There are lots of ethical concerns when it comes to vaccines, I suggest, even starting from the research and advancement phase. And there might be some Americans that dont desire to take a vaccine if its obtained from a fetal cell line.
Likewise we know that HeLa cells– theyre cells derived from a black lady who lived in poverty, named Henrietta Lacks. Her cells were taken from her without her educated approval, and companies have made millions, if not billions, of dollars off those cells. Therefore we know that some of the research and advancement are also utilizing HeLa cells also.
And then, even moving into who is going to get the vaccine initially, there are ethical problems there? How are you going to prioritize who should get the vaccine first versus who is going to be the last individual to get it? When President Trump brought out the Operation Warp Speed, there was some conversation about who would get top priority, however I think that the basic agreement is that health care employees will absolutely get very first priority in addition to retirement home locals and individuals who are in these sort of congregate settings.
And then probably after that, individuals who are important workers or very first responders, like police and firemens officers. And after that probably the 3rd group will probably become the general public. The administration has actually particularly mentioned that they will make the vaccine readily available to susceptible populations consisting of populations who arent able to afford to pay for it expense.
But I believe in thinking about these public-private partnerships that a lot of these vaccines are coming out of, I think a number of them have actually made pledges about guaranteeing that susceptible populations get the vaccine. Now, well see what takes place, specifically with billionaires, since we saw what occurred with testing, that a great deal of individuals that were affluent and political leaders were able to get access to screening very early, when lots of other Americans might not.
Generally vaccines take several years to research and establish. There are heaps of ethical problems when it comes to vaccines, I mean, even beginning from the research study and development stage. And there may be some Americans that dont want to take a vaccine if its obtained from a fetal cell line.
And then, even moving into who is going to get the vaccine initially, there are ethical issues there?