Why COVID-19 vaccines are hard to manufacture: Manufacturing time

Less than a year after COVID-19 launched the world into a health crisis, the goal of developing a vaccine for a return to normality was reached.

Manufacturing vaccines is a little different from and much more complex than other consumer products as it involves several extra steps and considerations.

Richard Wilding, professor of supply chain strategy at Cranfield University in the UK, explained, “[It is] a biological process, and it has to be done in various reaction vessels…So it’s a process that takes quite a lot of time.”

The manufacturing of the vaccines may vary slightly between the different pharmaceutical companies, but on average, it usually takes 12 to 36 months.

The process involves firstly, the raw material reception and active ingredient manufacturing, followed by coupling and formulation of the vaccine and then filling it into the vials or syringes. The vaccines are then packaged and lot released before being shipped and distributed.

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