From toilet paper hoarding and banana bread challenges, 2020 was a year full of weird and wonderful things, to the point where almost nothing could surprise us. We made it through, and here we are at the beginning of 2021, and COVID-19 vaccines are the talk of the town at the moment. This also brings to light the next supply chain crisis. Doctors and scientists have worked day and night to create a vaccine, and now we need to distribute this around the world, safely, quickly and fairly. Global supply chains will be tested, and we’re excited to see them rise to the challenge! Experts say that the biggest challenge was not creating the vaccine, but rather what comes next in order to get it to where it needs to be.
The Logistics of things
Getting the vaccine to countries around the world will be no easy feat! It will call on all forms of transportation to get the medicine from the manufacturers to the medical professionals who are then able to give it to the billions of people who will want it. The global logistics is already under pressure due to the damage that was caused by the lockdowns, which has caused a number of problems, adding to those that existed before the pandemic. Here are some of the key challenges the industry is facing:
- Getting the vaccine to remote, rural and often poorer communities will require a more sophisticated logistic service that the third-world countries lack. This means that without substantial investment to strengthen the supply chains, it will be years before the vaccines reach those who need them.
- The next concern is keeping the vaccine cold while transporting it. Health authorities say that when the vaccine does come out, it will most likely need to be kept at 2-8 degrees Celsius while being shipped. With so many people needing the vaccine, we can’t afford for many to be wasted due to poor storage conditions. Companies would need to make use of sensors to track the temperature of storage facilities throughout the supply chain.
- The COVID-19 vaccine is already in high demand, and with only a few countries being able to produce it, experts are concerned that this might lead to a bidding war breaking out. This could lead to some serious ethical questions around how the vaccine will be distributed fairly.
While there is some relief that comes with knowing a vaccine is on the way, there are still lots of question marks. Let’s hope that 2021 will bring some answers and health with it!