The BMJ report, has stated that a quarter of the world’s population may not have access to a COVID-19 vaccine until at least 2022.
There are clearly immense logistical challenges to overcome when it comes to the distribution of the vaccine. The truth is, the moment these vaccines were approved, organisations and governments were playing catchup.
Clear strategies must be put in place – from resolving the initial challenge of prioritising who gets the vaccine first, to tight temperature control at extremely low temperatures and maintaining a cold chain is absolutely essential. To ensure that the vaccine is kept in optimum conditions from the first mile to the last, stringent plans must be put in place.
Using digital twin technology, which allows organisations to virtually test their supply chain strategies, the most efficient delivery network can be modelled, taking both demand intricacies and the shelf life of the vaccine into consideration.
For the Oxford vaccine, the storage requirements are less complicated. However, as with all the vaccines, central and local governments and organisations engaged in the manufacturing and distribution must coordinate to ensure that the necessary equipment and sites to administer the vaccine are available, and that people aren’t waiting until 2022 for a possible vaccination.
To avoid further distribution complications and delays, there are also security concerns to consider. To avoid theft or tampering of the vaccines, every touchpoint where the change of custody takes place must be monitored and secured. As we look to supply the vaccine both safely and widely, no stone can go unturned.