Preparing for the Vaccine: An SCRC Webinar on December 16

On December 16, Major Dan Finkenstadt and I will be delivering a webinar on the upcoming roll-out of the vaccine.

Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution: Potential Problems and Bottlenecks [WEBINAR]

The webinar is based on our personal observations, insights, and discussions with multiple state procurement officers, the media, manufacturers and distributors of vaccines, and physicians in the field.  Although we have been led to believe that the vaccine roll-out is imminent, we have reason to believe that it may not be as simple as described.  Although the UK is certainly the “canary in the coal mine” in terms of observing how the vaccine distribution will work, delivering vaccines in a relatively small contained country near the source of manufacturing is very different from the challenges that exist in the US, which has large open spaces and a much broader geographic footprint.

In the webinar, we plan to use the Supply Chain Operating Reference Model as a basis for evaluating the different challenges that exist within the entire end to end supply chain.  This includes the following:

Plan – Every good supply chain execution begins with a solid plan.  While Operation Warp Speed may have a very good plan, it is not clear how well this has been communicated with the states.  What are the complexities of this plan?  We have recently learned that the governors of states and territories, working in close collaboration with local partners, will have responsibility for the “last mile” of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, including the

  • Phased roll-out
  • Distributing and monitoring
  • Provider enrollment and on-boarding
  • Cold storage
  • Multiple vaccines and doses
  • Mass vaccination sites

Source – components of the vaccine supply chain that are used to manufacture it are right sized for a “normal” vaccine supply chain, not the massive amounts that will be required, which may result in supply bottlenecks.  How will these bottlenecks impact manufacturing capacity, and the ability to roll out more than 700 M doses in the United States?  How will these supplies be allocated to other regions of the world?

Make – The Trump administration only contracted for 100M doses of the Pfizer vaccine.  This was despite repeated offers by Pfizer that demand from Europe and other regions would quickly snap up this capacity (which indeed occurred as predicted).  Where will the others come from?  Meanwhile, President-Elect Joe Biden has promised that 100M doses of the vaccine will be distributed in his first 100 days.  How likely is that scenario?

Deliver – Cold chain, cold chain, cold chain…If you haven’t heard about this, than pay attention.  The Pfizer vaccine requires cryo-preservation distribution, which refers to the 80 degrees below zero requirement for transportation. There just isn’t that many of these freezers around, let alone trucks and storage facilities to handle the mass distribution.  Our team has been doing more analysis on this subject, and will provide some analytics and cool visuals that can help you understand what this looks like.

Sell/Return – There are two issues here.  First, convincing the general population that vaccination is a good thing.  There has been an awful lot of misinformation going around about the dangers of vaccination, including the fact that it is linked to autism, and all sorts of other nonsense!  Dealing with these rumors and misinformation is an important part of selling the notion that the vaccine is safe, and can save lives, is an important part of this.  Another key issue here is the safety of the individuals who are handling and distributing the vaccine – we need to vaccinate the vaccinators!  This means increasing needs for PPE, which are already in short supply.  And finally, the issue of handling all of the returns of used needles and healthcare waste has to be dealt with.

Lots to cover in one hour!  Tune in and register for this event!