7 Lessons We’ve Learned From This Pandemic to Remember for the Next One

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India became yet another country to face a COVID-19 crisis this May, with around 350,000 new diagnoses and 3,500 deaths every day by mid-month. “We aren’t going to be able to treat our way out of disease. We need to prevent more infections from happening,” Amita Gupta, M.D., MHS, the deputy director of Johns Hopkins University Center for Clinical Global Health Education and a member of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Precision Medicine Center of Excellence, tells SELF. Mass vaccination is the proposed solution. Yet even though India is the world’s largest vaccine producer, it’s facing a COVID-19 vaccine shortage: Only about 3% of its 1.37 billion people have been fully vaccinated as of late May. “It’s not a question of being able to make enough vaccine,” says Dr. Gupta. “There’s an issue globally.”

During a normal year, a total of approximately 4 billion vaccine doses are manufactured worldwide to inoculate people against many diseases, says Dr. Gupta. This year we’ll likely need more than 14 billion doses for COVID-19 alone, requiring a huge increase in raw materials, she explains. India can only currently make about 80 million doses per month due to a lack of raw materials required to ramp up production. “If raw materials are the issue, it’s a global issue, not specific to India. The amount of vaccine that can be made for everybody needs to be carefully thought through,” says Dr. Gupta.