Finding a successful vaccine is only the beginning of the fight against Covid-19. The complexity of delivering the vaccine to a global population for mass vaccination programmes is a whole, new battleground.
Never has getting the supply chain right been more important than during this pandemic – it could literally save lives.
Once a vaccine is found, it needs to be manufactured and filled in highly sterile environments.
The quantity of doses required, billions in the case of this pandemic, means that there are delays in getting the vaccine to market. The filling process is a well-known bottleneck as tiny amounts of sterile liquid are filled into tiny containers such as glass vials.
To compound matters, there is currently a shortage of glass to make enough glass vials.
Once filled, getting the vaccine to markets is also fraught with difficulty, and becomes more so in low to middle-income countries.
The fact that a vaccine is a complex biological product, often requires it to be maintained at a controlled temperature of 2˚C to 8˚C, thus effective ‘cold chain’ provisions throughout the journey are critical if the vaccine is to remain viable.
Some of the candidate Covid-19 vaccines will need to be kept at a temperature of -70˚C!
The provision of sufficient refrigeration capacity from manufacturer to the last destination in the journey will be critical to success.
Assuming the vaccine, is successfully delivered to its end destination under effective cold chain conditions, it still has to be administered correctly by qualified personnel.
High income countries may have sufficient refrigeration capacity and qualified resources, but low to middle income countries will not.
Even high-income countries will have to adapt their delivery of the vaccine in any mass vaccination programme.
Social distancing will limit the ability to process the number of patients in traditional locations such as GP surgeries.
Increased demand for PPE to safeguard health workers will be required.
The time to vaccinate one person will increase as preparation to maintain sterility for the next is undertaken.
To process more people more quickly during the pandemic, more qualified personnel will be required as will more imaginative solutions to alternative locations in which to process people e.g. drive through arenas.
The above issues are only a few of the many involved in delivering a vaccine from the manufacturer to the patient, but they illustrate the complexity of the supply chain and criticality of getting it right.
Fortunately, there are organisations such as WHO, CEPI and GAVI galvanising governments, industry and academics to work together to find a solution in overcoming the complexity of the vaccine supply chain.
In doing so, they are literally helping to save lives.Back to news
Increased Profit and Reduced Costsby improving benchmarking, supplier intelligence and management and reducing the overall cost of ownership.
Reduced and Managed Riskby identifying, understanding and defining the risk associated with each purchase and mitigating against it
Improved Supplier Performanceby identifying the appropriate relationship with each supplier and implementing proper governance accordingly
Improved People Skills and Knowledgeby investing in their training and development through top-level support for, and recognition of, strategic procurement and its essential link to the delivery of corporate strategy at the highest level
Improved Customer Satisfactionby shortening lead times through supply chain optimisation and improving the quality and service of the goods and services supplied.
Increased Competitive EdgeResulting from the above and the adoption of strategic sourcing.read more >