Amid the worldwide effort to create a COVID-19 vaccine, reports are suggesting that both manufacturing and distribution is feasible in Britain by September. But just what steps need to be taken beyond manufacturing to ensure it is distributed globally both safely and effectively?
Madhav Durbha, Group VP at LLamasoft made the following comment:
“Manufacturing the vaccine is just the first hurdle that needs to be overcome. The challenge then turns into ensuring the supply chain delivers the vaccine to those most in need, while also protecting its viability. Data-driven guidance will be key to enable strategic planning and decision-making on such a massive scale so the vaccine reaches the billions of population that need it.
Temperature control is a major challenge in many parts of the world as vaccines are distributed to poor or remote populations where infrastructure and electricity are less common. Accidental freezing of vaccines occurs in 37% of facilities in lower-income countries, and 33% of facilities in wealthier countries. Maintaining an effective cold chain is critical, as vaccines must be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius from manufacturing all the way through the immunisation of a patient. Reducing the lead time between production to point of consumption will be critical in improving the viability of vaccines and delivery networks will need to be designed in consideration of this.
Predictive and prescriptive analytics will be crucial if millions of vaccines are to be transported not just nationally but internationally while remaining viable. The allocation of vaccines becomes complex as demand will significantly outstrip supply in the foreseeable future. Allocations will need to be made by prioritising the most vulnerable segments of the population. By combining the most recently available data on demand, supply, and matching it with the network capacity, leveraging advanced data science, algorithms, and cloud computing, the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry can make informed and fair decisions, prioritising critical patient populations.”