Giving Compass’ Take:
• Julie Swann, department head and professor of the industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, explores why there should be urgency in preparing for COVID vaccine distribution.
• What are the critical challenges of vaccine distribution, and how can donors help the U.S. prepare?
• Read more about funding COVID-19 vaccines.
This is precisely the sort of challenge Julie Swann has spent her professional life preparing for. Swann, department head and professor of the industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, uses mathematical models to make health care and supply chains more efficient, effective, and equitable.
Vaccine distribution involves health care and supply chains, as well as issues of efficiency, efficacy, and equality. In other words, the task of getting a COVID-19 vaccine to the most number of people is right up Swann’s alley.
Here, she explains more about what institutions should be doing now to prepare themselves for future challenges related to vaccine distribution:
So, there are a couple scenarios to consider, if and when COVID-19 vaccines become available. One scenario is that there is plenty of vaccine, and we have to figure out how to distribute 300 million doses efficiently. What questions or challenges does that raise?
Wow, I would love for that to be the case. If we have that much vaccine available simultaneously, then the challenge is to get administered to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
To make it geographically accessible, we would want to distribute broadly, including to rural locations and multiple points of distribution within urban areas. We also want to send it to places where people are likely to want vaccine. These places can include many types of healthcare providers, such as primary care physicians, specialty providers, Federally Qualified Healthcare Clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. But you also want to think about other locations, like pharmacies, retail clinics, workplaces, prisons, military bases or schools, that can meet people where they are and at different times of the day. You also need to take into account that the vaccine needs to be affordable, and that’s for the total cost of the vaccine itself and the administration fee to obtain it. Throughout all of this, there will need to be an educational campaign that informs people on why to get a vaccine and how they can do so.
Read the full article about vaccine distribution by Matt Shipman at Futurity.
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