Background: Climate impacts are rarely considered in health impact and economic assessments of public health programs. This study estimates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions averted by a novel oral SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine compared with four existing intramuscular vaccines: AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD®, Pfizer/BioNTech’s COMIRNATY®, Moderna’s mRNA-1273, and Johnson & Johnson’s Ad26.COV2.S COVID-19 vaccine. Methods: We estimated GHG emissions averted for five vaccine modalities across nine countries. GHG emissions averted were derived from differences in cold chain logistics, production of vaccine supplies, and medical waste disposal. Country specific data including population coverage and electricity production mix were included in GHG emissions calculations. Results are presented in averted GHG per vaccine course and country level based on modeled vaccination demand. Findings: Per course, an oral vaccine is estimated to avert between 0.007 and 0.024 kgCO2e compared with Johnson & Johnson, 0.013 to 0.048 kgCO2e compared with AstraZeneca, 0.23 to 0.108 kgCO2e compared with Moderna, and 0.134 to 0.466 kgCO2e compared with Pfizer/BioNTech. The total GHG averted varied across countries based upon predicted demand, mix of electrical production, and vaccination strategy with the largest emissions reductions projected for India and the United States. Interpretation: Our results demonstrate large potential GHG emissions reductions from the use of oral vs. intramuscular vaccines for mass COVID-19 vaccination programs. Up to 82.25 million kgCO2e could be averted from utilization of an oral vaccine in the United States alone, which is equivalent to eliminating 17,700 automobiles from the road for one year.

Fuente: The Journal of Climate Change and Health
Available online 4 March 2022, 100127