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The daunting challenge of immunizing the world

Tough issues await, including creating sufficient production capacity and an ultracold supply chain

Frances Gogh receives the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, at Guy's Hospital, at the start of the largest immunization program in British history, in London on Dec. 8.    © Reuters

People around the world are suddenly feeling hopeful as positive research findings and emergency government authorizations suggest that vaccines to end the COVID-19 pandemic are within reach. But massive challenges still lie ahead.

These include quickly ramping up enough production capacity to inoculate billions of people in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed more than 1.5 million lives in just a year. And in addition to the normal problems of transporting vaccines to the remotest corners of the world, the COVID-19 inoculations require special handling at super-cold temperatures.

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