Healthcare Purchasing News recently published two articles on COVID-19 vaccine supply chain challenges and considerations for non-acute care facilities. Logistyx President Ken Fleming was among a handful of experts quoted; while acknowledging the challenges faced by front-line workers, Ken praised vaccine manufacturers for their flexibility and success in delivering life-saving vaccines. From the article “Pandemic response primes most intense just-in-time, last-mile logistics projects:”
“The scale of the operation is massive and requires a great deal of coordination from end to end,” Fleming said. “With 50 states employing individual approaches, the lack of a unified system introduces unique variables.”
Fleming urges people to think positive.
“With all of that accounted for, the success of the effort to get vaccines into arms has been rather impressive,” he indicated. “From a distribution and logistics standpoint, manufacturers have implemented new strategies – like shipping directly from manufacturing sites instead of central distribution warehouses – and created custom shipping containers for cold-chain storage requirements. Carriers have prioritized vaccine shipments, ensuring they have capacity and the cold-chain capabilities to rapidly deliver fresh vaccines when and where they’re needed. Vaccination sites have ensured they have the necessary cold storage and the personnel on hand to administer the vaccines in rapid fashion.
“Have there been challenges along the way? Of course, but it’s also been quite successful,” he added.
Ken goes on to detail three key steps vaccine manufacturers used to improve delivery speed, maintain required temperatures and ensure the return of custom shipping containers.
In “For COVID-19 vaccine administration, non-acute facilities need access in excess,” Ken highlights the importance of communication:
“The most important aspect for facilities is constant communication,” Fleming insisted. “If they’re encountering issues, not receiving expected shipments on time or in the expected condition, it’s critical to communicate that to everyone up the chain, including state agencies overseeing vaccination programs, carriers and manufacturers to ensure those issues are being addressed and addressed quickly.”
Be sure to read both articles to better understand the role of supply chain in the ongoing vaccination efforts. Kudos to all involved for the impressive response and results to-date!