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President Donald Trump doubled down on his optimism {that a} COVID-19 vaccine for the plenty is simply across the nook throughout Thursday night time’s final presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden. That flies within the face of what most specialists, together with senior Trump administration officers, have stated, as debate moderator Kristen Welker famous.

However Trump insisted that he believes in a extra accelerated timeline that may be boosted by the U.S. navy, which might ostensibly assist deploy tens of hundreds of thousands of doses to the final inhabitants as soon as a vaccine clears regulatory hurdles.

“You will have stated a vaccine is coming quickly inside weeks now. Your individual officers say, ‘It may take nicely into 2021 on the earliest for sufficient People to get vaccinated,’” stated Welker.

“No, I believe my timeline goes to be extra correct. I don’t know that they’re relying on the navy the way in which I do, however we have now our generals lined up, one particularly that’s the pinnacle of logistics, and it is a very simple distribution for him. He’s able to go,” Trump responded. “As quickly as we have now the vaccine—and we anticipate to have a 100 million vials—as quickly as we have now the vaccine, he’s able to go.”

Whereas it’s true that the navy could also be concerned in transportation of some vaccine doses, sensible logistics recommend it gained’t be at almost the dimensions that Trump advised within the debate and has repeated multiple times in the past.

For one factor, distribution of any COVID vaccine will doubtless be dictated by want by a tiered prioritization technique. The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management (CDC) and Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH) commissioned a framework for equitable distribution of the COVID vaccine by the Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Drugs.

That initial framework recommends, in its supply and allocation part, that the Division of Well being and Human Providers (HHS) construct “the capability and techniques to gather and combine the required information (digital and different) from public well being and personal suppliers of care to facilitate the identification and monitoring of individuals with pre-existing situations and different high-risk traits” for the primary tranche of individuals to obtain a vaccine.

Theoretically, a navy jet may assist on this transport system. However there are myriad complexities concerned given the character of a coronavirus vaccine. Many vaccines at the moment beneath growth, together with from drug giants like Pfizer and smaller biotechs like Moderna, would have to be refrigerated at temperatures as low as negative 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Others, akin to one beneath growth by Johnson & Johnson, may finally be stored at conventional fridge temperatures for as much as three months.

Whereas Air Power cargo jets may very well be geared up with the correct refrigeration items to move ultracooled vaccines (in collaboration with the businesses creating them), there’s one other logistics dilemma: transferring these extremely delicate supplies from a producing website or truck to items on a navy airplane.

That course of may probably taint the product, which is why specialists notice {that a} extra life like possibility is probably going counting on supercooled cargo vans that may transport a COVID vaccine on to a medical heart that has its personal specialised infrastructure.

The Protection Division itself stated as lately as late September that it doesn’t anticipate the navy to be concerned in vaccine distribution in any large-scale vogue. In a statement to the trade publication American Shipper, a Pentagon spokesperson stated that “DOD-required assist could be by exception,” noting that “navy air property could also be known as upon to ship vaccines to a distant location provided that no different technique of transportation is possible.”

On a broader degree, Trump’s suggestion {that a} vaccine shall be immediately accessible as soon as granted FDA authorization or approval defies practicality and the character of rolling out a vaccine in lower than a 12 months. Very like coronavirus testing, high-risk sufferers and frontline staff shall be prioritized earlier than the broader populace will have the ability to get their pictures, doubtless someday subsequent 12 months.

Extra coronavirus coverage from Fortune:


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