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October 28, 2021— Jessica Justman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, says scientists had been working on mRNA technology for years, including efforts to study other respiratory diseases such as SARS and MERS. “We did a survey asking people what would get them to get vaccinated,” says Wafaa El-Sadr, director of the Global Health Initiative at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “One of the items that people selected is: ‘If my work required it.’ It may not work for everybody, but there may be significant numbers of people who say now is the time to get vaccinated.… It’s premature,” says El-Sadr, the global health expert at Columbia. “I don’t think there is a compelling reason at this time to tell the general population they need additional shots.” “The development of the COVID vaccines is beyond spectacular,” says Justman. “Most of the supply of vaccines has been promised or has been bought by the wealthier countries, so … there isn’t enough supply for the poorer countries,” says Wafaa El-Sadr, director of the Global Health Initiative at Columbia University. “There’s basically no manufacturing capacity in some of these low-income countries,” says Jessica Justman, an epidemiologist at Columbia. Thus, increasing local manufacturing capacity is probably the best long-term solution, she says.  

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