The battle with coronavirus will not end at finding a vaccine alone. Yet another challenge will be the possibility of shortages of syringes, wipes, and protective gear needed for potential mass vaccinations against COVID-19, the European Union (EU) has warned.
It has urged them to consider joint procurement, according to an EU document.
The bloc has also asked EU governments to consider jointly buying more shots against influenza and increase the number of people vaccinated to reduce the risk of simultaneous flu and COVID-19 outbreaks in the autumn, India Today reported.
No vaccine against COVID-19 has yet been fully developed or approved, but countries around the world are seeking to secure supplies of potential shots so that, if and when vaccine candidates prove effective, immunisation campaigns can start quickly. Some countries hope that may be as early as this year.
Should a shot prove effective, manufacturing and distribution issues could become hurdles.
“COVID-19 vaccines, once developed, may come without syringes and other items,” the EU Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, told health experts from European countries at a meeting last week, according to a summary report on its website.
“There could be shortages,” it warned, asking governments about their stocks of syringes, wipes, alcohol and personal protection equipment such as face masks.
It urged EU states to consider joint procurement, with representatives of Italy and the Netherlands expressing interest, according to the document. Joint purchase schemes are considered useful to obtain better prices and avoid EU governments vying against each other.