Originally published in RouteFifty
The long-awaited Covid-19 vaccine has arrived. As of now, three pharmaceutical companies—Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca—have announced that their vaccines are anywhere from 70 and 95% effective. And with the approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the U.S. is now embarking on the largest vaccination distribution campaign in history. As it did for keeping individuals safe throughout the pandemic, technology and data will need to be leveraged in order to ensure distribution plans are on track and successful. But in this unprecedented time, state and local governments are struggling to understand what technology is actually needed to create a safe and efficient distribution pipeline. They also need to understand what data is necessary to collect and how to keep it safe. And all of these solutions need to be implemented in a timely manner so that state and local governments can quickly and safely distribute the vaccine.
Third-Party Vendor Considerations
There are major time constraints for getting the infrastructure in place to support the vaccine distribution. This means that health care and government organizations will need to rely on existing technology infrastructure and solutions instead of building out their own platforms. Similarly, this means working with existing technology vendors through RFP processes known to take weeks or months to get new projects approved. In our current situation, speed is pivotal. Finding a balance between speed and process is extremely important at this time. Governments should consider ways to avoid lengthy RFPs so that the technology is in place for the distribution. This could mean entering a pilot program agreement or looking at direct sales—anything that will allow the technology to be implemented in a timely fashion. Consider trusted vendors that have experience working with government organizations and understand the security requirements.
The technology that governments choose to implement needs to be able to manage the flow of traffic and vaccine appointments in health care facilities. The health care system is already overwhelmed with patients sick from Covid-19. Adding an onslaught of patients needing vaccines to busy hospitals that are already under strain could cause many issues. Vaccine distribution needs to consider how to keep everyone safe by managing the flow of traffic in these facilities. Integrating appointment management solutions where patients can wait at a safe distance will help keep clinics safe and running smoothly during the distribution phase. It will also help them manage the distribution of the vaccines alongside the need of other healthcare services.
With so many different distribution phases and vaccines, governments will need to collect patient data to keep track of who has been vaccinated, who needs a booster shot if receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and who still needs the vaccine. This will be critical information when it comes to ordering vaccine doses and moving through each phase, but also to monitor the needs of healthcare providers.