Erste Asset Management

Update Covid19 – Potential vaccine is a logistical challenge

Update Covid19 – Potential vaccine is a logistical challenge
(c) unsplash

Investors welcome a study for a possible vaccination against the corona virus by Pfizer and BioNTech ( ). As a result, Pfizer’s shares have risen sharply. Hopes for a vaccine against the SARS-COV2 virus are expected and supported in October. Even if the vaccine is available, the logistics of producing and effectively distributing such a vaccine on a global scale or even with large countries is rarely discussed.

Vaccine manufacturers already produce hundreds of millions of doses

Currently, multiple vaccine candidates are in so-called at-risk production. Vaccine producers have started producing hundreds of millions of doses to be ready for distribution once a candidate passes phase III trials. While the produces bear some of the financial burden should the candidate fail, most of the cost will fall onto governments (U.S. through BARDA in case of the Oxford vaccine) and NGOs (Gates Foundation). There is also the question of crowding out other vaccine production chains, an issue affecting primarily emerging economies.

Worldwide distribution of a vaccine a huge task

Distributing a vaccine globally and even in large countries is a monumental task and requires rigorous governmental planning and monitoring. Most developed economies have strategic playbooks for pandemics (here’s the 250 page U.S. bible on the topic), however, these were often written with a flu pandemic in mind. They regulate who gets the vaccine first with the general aim being the prevention of loss of life and public order. Therefore, vulnerable groups, medical personnel, police, armed forces and central government will be vaccinated first. The distribution to the broad population is then governed by the logistics in place for such an operation. For example, in the U.S. the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the only institution that can provide cold chain logistics and monitoring of a nationwide vaccine distribution.

(c) Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

While the CDC has been heavily criticized during the current pandemic for its botched handling of tests, concerns for a similar mess-up during vaccine distribution should be weighed against the successful distribution of the swine flu vaccine in 2009. Another concern, however, is public acceptance of vaccine. While so called anti-vaxxers pose a small, albeit loud, proportion of the population, many people have voiced concerns of getting a vaccine they perceived was rushed through development. Most government guidelines state the urgent need for public leaders to address these concerns with consistent and transparent education. To illustrate the issue that at least the U.S. might face see below:

Supply chain monitoring essential

An often underestimated task during a large vaccination campaign is monitoring, which ensures that the right amount of doses arrive at the right destination, vaccines are not sitting idle in distribution centers or end up in the black market, adverse side effects are caught early and most importantly the government knows who has been vaccinated. A national vaccination campaign requires an effective bureaucracy apparatus and transparent communication between the involved government agencies. Cyberdefence is an often neglected factor in this phase, as bad actors could potentially seriously interfere with the vaccination campaign at this point with relatively simple means.


The hope for a possible vaccine in October supports the positive development on the stock markets. In addition to monetary and fiscal policy measures, a remedy against Covid19 would be the right medicine for a continuation of the upward trend.

Interesting Links:

Online calculator for health care system utilization

Nice tool to simulate the epidemic course of COVID19

Tool for tracking gene mutations in COVID19 and their local occurrence

Risk-map for the U.S. with various risk overlays

Coronavirus News Monitor

New York Times: Tracking the true toll of the Coronavirus Crisis: Link

New York Times: Vaccine Tracker

Steckbrief COVID-19 Robert Koch Institut (German): Link

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is a German federal institute of the Ministry of Health for disease surveillance and prevention. The summarize the findings of available research about e.g.

Mortality rate, how long is someone infectious, time of hospitalization,…

Government Response Tracker:

The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker counts data from 73 countries. It is designed to systematically record government responses worldwide and aggregate the scores into a common ‘Stringency Index’.

Podcast about the Corona virus (German):
Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten, Director of the Institute for Virology at the Charité
Topics: Corona virus in everyday life, dangers for children, health care,… Link
How many Covid-19 Tests are performed? USA

USA Daily new confirmed cases:

Legal note:
Prognoses are no reliable indicator for future performance.



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