Covid-19 Vaccine deployment - a main supply chain challenge
Deploying Covid-19 vaccine became the largest supply chain challenge in history.
August 5, 2021
4 minutes read
Supply chain plays an important role in the success of Covid 19 vaccination meaning lives being saved.
Millions of Covid-19 vaccines have already been produced but this will be meaningless unless they can be efficiently deployed and administrated. We have been witnessing, in the last year and a half, unprecedented times for the life sciences industry and governments as the pressure to develop a highly efficient vaccine arouse. But, once vaccines with a secure level of confidence appeared on the horizon, another challenge presented itself. How to efficiently deploy and distribute the vaccines? A vaccine, by itself, without the administration, has no proper value.
Why was the Covid 19 vaccine deployment a major challenge for supply chain?
The urgent speed needed in Covid-19 vaccine distribution, made it difficult to deliver the vaccines via the sea. It is important to bear in mind that sea transport has been the chosen route for the last two decades by the pharmaceutical industry due to the quality and security of the cold chain – temperature-controlled environment, assured by naval transport.
The Covid-19 deployment, and distribution has been an incredible and demanding operation unparalleled in the history of supply chain and pharma industry. If billions of people need to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, and, most of them, will require two doses, each one with a high level of temperature requirements, it is easy for us to imagine the magnitude of this operation. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored, consistently, at -70c; Moderna at -20c and AstraZeneca at 2c. This shows how sensitive and volatile vaccines can be if not properly accommodated. In addition to these temperature requirements, Covid-19 vaccines must travel from the labs where they’re manufactured, through transportation, distribution, storage until local administration.
The importance of Covid-19 vaccines Supply Chain
Supply chain plays an important role in the success of Covid 19 vaccination meaning lives being saved. Unparalleled innovative, collaborative and technological advances were made in order to produce these vaccines, but this will only have a real impact in people’s lives if the vaccines can be efficiently distributed and administrated. This is why an effective supply chain can make the difference in this operational success.
Certainly, the lessons learned in these supply chain configurations, will impact how it they will operate in the future. Due to the high complexity of an efficient supply chain configuration, collaboration and flexibility have become more important than ever, and it can dictate the success of future operations.
Benefits of cutting-edge technology throughout the Covid-19 Vaccines Supply Chain
Cutting-edge tech can be a great ally in the success of this operation by ensuring that vaccines have their ideal thermal conditions. In fact, IoT can sense temperatures in real time and blockchain can ensure the vaccines meet their final destinations in proper conditions for being administered. Also, data sharing can flag potential issues in the vaccine distribution and minimize risks. Artificial intelligence can play an important role in improving the supply chain performance by minimizing costs, allowing an accurate inventory management and on-time product delivery.
Pharma industry, organizations and national governments can learn with this and work towards an efficient supply chain promotion, a more flexible and agile one, in a more collaborative way as a way to speed patients’ treatments and vaccines in the future.