LOGISTIC ISSUES/RISKS IN DISTRIBUTION OF COVID-19 VACCINES!

COVID-19 is a candidate for one of the deadliest infectious diseases with more than 37 million illnesses and more than 1 million deaths worldwide. Overcoming the global COVID-19 pandemic is no less than a nightmare, as it still awaits a vaccine. Moreover, several logistic issues are expected during the distribution of this vaccine, which need to be addressed in advance to ensure reduction of health risk. Particularly, a controlled cold-chain environment and trained staff will be the biggest requirement throughout the supply chain to ensure effective and safe logistics, for which governmental regulations should be effectively in place globally.

The efficient management of the distribution of a commodity from its place of manufacture to the end user through various stages is known as logistic management. A COVID 19 vaccine will be savior for mankind that will grant immunity to the people against this deadly virus. A recent research suggested that during and after 2021, about ten to twenty billion doses of this vaccine will be transported worldwide, hence it will be going to be the largest and quickest ever logistic task in this century. The logistic issues in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine include procurement, supplies, tracking, and storage of the vaccine, as well as the accessories required for it, including protective shields, needles, syringes, ice-boxes, and waste-handling procedures across the globe.

Time and temperature are two crucial factors which depend on each other for the transport of a vaccine. In order to ensure the efficacy of the vaccine, the establishment of temperature-controlled facilities and transportation are the foremost priority. Secondarily, the people to be involved in the distribution channel should be adequately trained to ensure handling the vaccine in temperature-controlled conditions in a time-efficient manner. About fifteen million cooling boxes will be globally required for the transport of billions of doses of this vaccine.

The cost of the distribution across the globe will also be a major challenge, because efficient and quick distribution will take place through air cargo. For this purpose, about fifteen thousand flights having temperature-controlled facilities will be required for the global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Since global movement of this vaccine at large pace will require the involvement of several governments, hence global governments will have to draft rigorous law making related to manufacturing, tracking, transportation, storage and deployment of the vaccine, as well as related to skilled workers involved in handling of this vaccine.

An efficient tracking, handling, storage, and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine can be ensured by implementation of a rigorous and uniformly acceptable barcode system which will ensure the traceability and legitimacy of each vial of the vaccine. In addition, experts must do audits to ensure that the logistics remain safe. A global monitoring and sharing system of the temperature control of the vaccine vials must be implemented, so that the efficacy of the vaccine remains intact. Cross checks and calibration services of renowned levels must be involved across the global supply chain. Moreover, novel packaging technologies will ensure higher shelf life of the vaccine and save a lot of logistic costs. Finally, the use of latest communication tools will help that all the inbound and outbound channels are informed of the required safety protocols and related information.

In summary, the global COVID-19 pandemic has costed a lot of precious lives and innumerable loss of resources worldwide. The test of mankind will not be finished until a viable vaccine reaches to every human being. Besides the manufacture of an acceptable COVID-19 vaccine, its worldwide distribution logistics will also be challenging. The article summarized the efforts required for the safe distribution logistics of COVID-19 vaccine across the globe.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.

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