Coronavirus: price, availability, approval ... all questions about upcoming vaccines

After this week's thunderous announcements regarding the progress of the various vaccine projects, many questions remain.

1 - Which vaccine (s) are we talking about?

"We cannot put all our eggs in one basket," World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Ghebreyesus said on Thursday, referring to the search for a vaccine against the coronavirus.

There should be a choice, with ten vaccines now in phase 3, the last step before possible approval, and the WHO on 3 November identified 47 vaccine candidates using several techniques. Messenger RNA for Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, attenuated (such as measles) or inactivated (influenza, polio) viruses for most others.

If the Pfizer vaccine has gained an advantage, it is not sure whether it will be the first validated, many unknowns remain. Anglo-Swedes Astra-Zeneca and American Johnson & Johnson had to suspend their trials for a while due to "serious incidents" and this is still the case for the Chinese trial Sinovac.

Last July, the authoritative scientific publication Lancet cited its three favorites: AtraZeneca, CanSino and Pfizer. "The Russians and the Chinese are ahead," said infectious disease specialist Jacques Reynes in Montpellier. "The first vaccines on the market will be Chinese," predicts geneticist Axel Kahn.

    -The first vaccines on the market will be Chinese-

The only certainty is that the first vaccine on the market will not be the only one for long. "This is not a race against each other, it is a race against a virus. A single company could not meet the demand", explained Bruno Donini, head of business at Sanofi Pasteur, in Futurapolis Montpellier.

   - This is not a race against each other, it is a race against a virus. One company could not meet the demand-

2 - At what price?

“Well below the market price,” promises BioNTech. It would be 50 to 60 dollars (approximately 50 €) for the two doses of the vaccine, 3 to 4 dollars (approximately 3 €) for the dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine, 10 dollars (approximately 8 €) for the Sanofi / GSK vaccine…

Bruno Donini, of Sanofi, points out that the investment is heavy: a billion dollars. "The price is set according to the efficiency, safety, investment. It must also be fair and accessible to all, because targeting a pandemic only with regard to rich countries does not make sense "he said.

    -The price is set on the basis of efficiency, safety, investment. It must also be fair and accessible to all, because targeting a pandemic only with regard to rich countries does not make sense-

3 - When will they be available?

Guido Rasi, director of the European Medicines Agency, told Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore on Saturday that the agency should give a favorable opinion on a vaccine "by the end of the year", for distribution " from January". He estimates that "six or seven different vaccines" should be available in 2021, and that it will take "at least a year to vaccinate everyone".

4 - Who will be vaccinated first?

People at risk for severe forms, therefore older people (from 60 years old, 65 years old?) And people who suffer from obesity or have co-morbidities will be given priority. Another target audience: caregivers and nursing home staff. The last official document on the subject is a note from the Haute Autorité de Santé on July 23.

The choices will however be decisive: "We must avoid reliving the situation of 2009, the vaccination against the H1N1 virus had been a fiasco. We are organizing ourselves to be able to say, at the end of December, at the beginning of January, who to vaccinate with which vaccine", explained- Élisabeth Bouvet, president of the technical committee on vaccinations (CTV) of the Haute Autorité de Santé, in Futurapolis, in Montpellier, is already a month ago.

    -We must avoid reliving the situation of 2009, vaccination against the H1N1 virus had been a fiasco. We organize ourselves to be able to say, at the end of December, at the beginning of January, who to vaccinate with which vaccine-

This week, the CHUs were to provide information on the organization of the vaccine sector. "Vaccination in the first quarter of 2021, perhaps. But it will be very supervised," said Jacques Reynes, who does not imagine "extended vaccination" in the immediate future.

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