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Walker Webcast: COVID Vaccine Will Be Both Lifesaver and “Logistical Challenge”

Pfizer’s Nov. 9 announcement that it had achieved positive interim results from a coronavirus vaccine phase III trial was welcome news as the U.S. and other countries have seen an alarming resurgence of COVID-19. That’s especially the case as the vaccine reached this stage in an exceptionally short period of time. However, developing an effective vaccine or vaccines—and currently there are five other candidates—is only the beginning, infectious disease experts said on this week’s Walker Webcast with Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker.

Once the Food and Drug Administration signs off on the vaccine or vaccines, there’s the matter of scaling up production of what is likely to be hundreds of millions of doses. There’s also transportation and storage requirements, which may vary among different vaccines.

Pfizer’s vaccine requires storage at about 90 degrees below zero, Walker pointed out, while the vaccine from Moderna—which has also proven more than 90% effective in preliminary trials—is stable under refrigerated conditions. Being able to accommodate both means being prepared, said Elizabeth Concordia, CEO and president of UCHealth.

“It will be a logistical challenge,” she said.

Once the vaccines are delivered, and it’s clear to all whether the treatment or treatments will require one dose or two, then there’s the issue at the healthcare system level of making sure people come in to get their shots. Concordia said “doubters” were a concern, and Walker pointed out that surveys done in May and September showed that their ranks have increased.

“There will always be some that will not” take a vaccine, said Concordia.

Until a vaccine is available, hospital systems such as UCHealth must continue dealing with the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 11 million Americans and resulted in at least 250,000 deaths. That being said, Concordia noted that notwithstanding many more hospitalizations recently, fewer recent ICU patients have had to be put on ventilators, a testament to the greater proficiency that first responders now have in treating them.

“We certainly don’t want the numbers that we have now,” she said, but at the same time, “we’ve learned a lot since April.” That applies to improving the customer experience for patients as well as the efficacy of treatment.

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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