Even If We Come Up With A Vaccine, There May Not Be Enough Vials To Put It In
Credit: Getty Images
May 13, 2020

What we’re learning from the Trump team’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is that disaster preparation measures are very complicated and involve lots of moving parts. We’re learning that a nation's ability to respond to a crisis depends very much on having government infrastructure devoted to predicting where those crises may hit and what small, seemingly innocuous bits are likely to wreck our ability to respond to the whole thing if we don't get them right.

This is why you might, say, create a national security team devoted exclusively to preparing responses to newly emerging pandemics as opposed to having the president's daughter's real estate investor husband attempt to work it out on the fly. A national security team devoted exclusively to preparing for pandemics might be able to tell you that even if we were to come up with a vaccine immediately for the current threat, we could not distribute it because there is a shortage of the sand used to make the glass used to make the little vials that the vaccine would be put into. It turns out you can't just pour the stuff into Mason jars.

A Politico story brings us the details on that one—yet another issue pulled from the whistleblower complaint filed by the forced-out government vaccine expert Rick Bright. In addition to a shortage of vaccine vials—due to a shortage of medical-grade glass, due to a shortage of a particular kind of river sand—there also aren’t nearly enough of the little rubber or latex caps. It will take time to ramp up production, and the Trump administration has seemed especially devoted to rooting out anyone in government who has ever had the audacity to know about such things.

This isn't something we need to worry about right now because there is no vaccine to put in the vials yet. But government will need to worry about it, hopefully with a more robust effort than: "What if Jared Kushner assembles a team of finance industry college buddies to cold call companies and ask them what's up with that?" And it will eventually need to be solved, in the same way that (shudder) testing and contract tracing will eventually need to be solved, whether the Great Orange Idiot thinks so or not.

And that is so depressing a thought that we might just want to leave it there and not dwell on it too deeply. There are a hundred different crises going on behind the scenes, every one of them an issue that an incompetent government effort could turn into the major crisis topping all others. The Republican administration response continues to focus primarily on searching each government agency for someone who has identified these crises so that they can be well and truly punished.

Posted with permission from Daily Kos.

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