I think it's fair to say that there are a lot of questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, especially around the issue of how long it will be until we (or our loved ones) can get their shot.
As reporter Sarah Kominek writes, the issue behind that question is very big. There's the production capacity at drug companies and issues related to distribution by individual states or counties. Beyond that, there's the manufacturing of syringes that is seeing Becton, Dickinson & Co. expand production and Florida injection molder National Molding LLC working overtime for its production of tamper-evident seals for liquid injectable vials, for just two items.
"This is no small task — to produce a billion devices in the next 12 months equates to nearly 2,000 devices every minute on top of BD's normal volumes to fully support routine health care needs," BD officials said.
Obviously, there is more than a drug manufacturer involved.
I was reminded of the range of plastics in the vaccination process as a friend was sending photos while she visited the University of Michigan football stadium for her second shot. Yes, U-M has turned the stadium into a vaccination center. It updates its progress on the scoreboard. (I'm not above asking this friend to take a photo of the scoreboard while she was there. You'll see it in this week's print issue.)
She also sent along photos of some of the other roles plastics are playing in the process, from signage to boxes and boxes of sharps containers to hold all those used syringes.
So while we're waiting for our turn, we can also take the opportunity of thinking just how complicated the whole process is, and the many, many plastics manufacturers involved that operate outside the spotlight.