COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Is a Huge Undertaking for Supply Chain Planning
International Governments’ Involvement Complicates Vaccine Distribution
The involvement of governments from around the globe results in extreme supply chain hurdles during this vaccine distribution. Each government possesses new and unprecedented transportation barriers. The problems are only growing worse due to the nature of COVID-19 as well. In recent weeks, fears over a more contagious version of the virus have prompted border crossing blockades in the UK. That does not apply to imports for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. However, it results in added challenges for maintaining an inventory of necessities and even food. In recent days, Lufthansa donated more than 80 tons of food to the UK to help. Despite the supply chain planning challenges, international governments must work together and understand both the people and the supply chain’s real needs to enable a speedy vaccine distribution. For that reason, a global TMS with an extensive partner ecosystem is necessary.
Different Manufacturer Vaccines Have Different Transport Requirements
Another supply chain planning challenge resides within the vaccine storage differences. Pfizer’s vaccine requires extreme cold for viability, adding pressure to the supply chain and the need for visibility. Real-time temperature monitoring and movement tracking are the only ways health providers can guarantee the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety. Simultaneous transport of the Moderna vaccine has a much more stable shelf life and only requires basic refrigeration. That distinction means the urgency is less for Moderna, but again, the added pressure to complete distribution as quickly and as efficiently as possible remains. That’s why it’s critical to have a supply chain planning resource that can consider multiple modes based on cargo value and transport requirements. Such systems must also continue to function around the clock, eliminate downtime, and save lives.