the race for covid-19 inoculation

At the beginning of the pandemic, the global objective was to “flatten the curve” of contagions. One year later, the objective is to “accelerate the curve” of vaccination to achieve immunity in the shortest time possible, a medical and logistical challenge at global scale.

Eyes are on the global race to vaccinate the population to stop the advance of the Coronavirus pandemic. Until March 31, 2021, a total of 595.92 million vaccines have been administered globally acccording Our World in Data.

The total number of vaccination administered give us a preliminar idea of what is happening but, do not reflect the number of people vaccinated because most of the vaccines available needs two doses to generate the desired immunity. In the following graph we can see the share of population by country that at least have recieve one dose of vaccination.

From there, we can analyze possible factors that might caused that some countries, such as Chile have already reached the 35% of the population in their vaccination campaign, aiming the ambicious objective of reaching 80% of population by the first semester of 2021.

Sanitary and logistical capacity installed to be able to carry out mass vaccinations.

A system that is based on a strong network of primary health care centers at the city council level makes it easy to create a calendar according to the age of the population in order to prioritize patients who are older and at risk of disease, also seen in Israel strategy. Nevertheless, health centers and hospitals are not enough, specially when the sanitary system its reaching limits as consequence of the outbreak.

For Chilean politician, the logistics plan must include the use of adapted areas, such as: schools, colleges, public gyms, stadiums, and even drive-in’s were up to four people can recieve the shot. In this logistic bet, dozens of vehicles line up to enter a health circuit where the first stop is vaccination and the second, a parking lot, which functions as an observation area for possible adverse reactions. For them, the aim is to multiply the number of people vaccinated, reaching 15.000 vaccination centers, and being able to inoculate up to 319,014 people in a day.

Vaccination Drive in’s in Chile.
Massive and diversified purchasing strategy to have vaccine availability.

Diversification of suppliers has worked in the midst of a global context of limited distribution, especially for those high-income countries that bet only on vaccines produced in the West. In the contrary, the case of Chile, which vaccinates 3 times faster than Spain, has reached agreements for the acquisition of 36 million vaccines and has already bought the companies Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, AstraZeneca and they are still in negotiation processes for the purchase of Sputnik V and Cansino to ensure availability of supplies, in addition to be part of the Covax program. The European Union, for its part, bet mainly on AstraZeneca and Pfizer, which have had logistical problems to produce and deliver the committed quantities, with contracts that favor them in these cases and with agreed quarterly deliveries, added to the preventive suspension of the vaccination for 2 weeks due to suspected side effects, causing a delay in vaccination throughout the region.

Mobilise all available resources

About 3.7 billion of the 6.8 billion doses of vaccines have been purchased by wealthy countries, according to an analysis by Duke University. Those who have been able to negotiate purchases by investing large amounts of public funds and generating price and volume agreements. Then there are the middle-income countries, which, with limited purchasing power, use other strategies to get ahead of the line, such as India and Brazil, which have managed to negotiate large commitments for the main vaccine candidates as part of the agreements. manufacturing.

There is also the case of Chile, which, although it does not have the capacity to manufacture or develop vaccines, can host clinical trials, which has allowed it to negotiate purchase agreements, and despite being the second most unequal country in the OECD, only behind Mexico, it has privileged resources and extensive business connections with vaccine producing countries.

Global logistic challenge

Imperial College of London researchers say integrated modelling for accurated prediction on how optimize procesess and flexible planning approach to multifactorial problems will be essential for manufacturers to meet the global COVID-19 vaccine demand.

In the current climate supply chains could face significant disruption from closed borders and limited international travel and transportation and additional pressures caused if personnel cannot work due to health issues, or if production processes break down. Their expert recommendation is: Optimising production, It is essential that manufacturers tackle capacity limitations and identify an efficient strategy that will enable them to be effective. Scale-out of manufacturing reduces the risk of losing production and supply capacity, by increasing the availability of operational facilities over a wider geographic area. This means that if one facility fails, others will be able to continue with production. Re-routing supply chains and distribution networks  it’s vital that supply chain networks are agile and flexible to mitigate risks related to route, and to be responsive to needs. In the early stages, vaccine availability will be insufficient to immediately cover global demand, so strategies will have to be decided at governmental and global levels to decide who will be prioritised for the initial doses. This will define the target for the supply chain and will change over time.

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