By Vikas Wadhwa
Chief Innovation & Markets Officer

As we continue to navigate through these unchartered waters in today’s unprecedented circumstances. As things slowly begin to ease and we finally see the light at the end of this tunnel, with shoots of hope that a few vaccines can help neutralise this deadly virus which has brought the world to a standstill.

But with hope, comes its share of challenges, the biggest challenge world now faces one of the largest, most complex and critical supply chain challenges ever encountered: to quickly, safely and most efficiently distribute COVID-19 vaccines throughout the world, in unprecedented volumes, at the quickest possible time while maintaining vaccine visibility and stability to save as many lives as possible.

As this new logistical challenge unfolds, and as we enthusiastically prepare for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, factoring for vaccines’ temperature sensitivity, it is essential how we leverage the technologies to uniquely track every vial: tracking right from the first mile to the last, with the confidence of the efficacy of every dose that shall be administered is safe and effective.

The Challenges we face

The complexities of the refrigerated or ultra frozen state of vaccines, the cold supply chain infrastructure, phased roll-out, multiple doses and administration SOPs, the high demand and potential pilferage risk, and last but not the least amounts of government funding to support the COVID-19 vaccine are available to all. It is quite a challenge, especially for a country like India. At one end, India is the pharmacy of the world, the largest producer of vaccines, on the other a highly populous and vast country with limited cold supply chain infrastructure, thus, visibility challenges on how effectively we are in the know that the temperature remained in a stable state through the production to consumption.

What is vital to the public is that vaccine they are receiving is not exposed to a temperature beyond the threshold or not compromised in any way. We want to be ensured that each dose is confirmed viable before it is injected. At the same time, governments and agencies want to know the location, inventory visibility and date/time of each and every vial.

The only way this logistical challenge will be successful is with the aid of real-time end-to-end supply chain visibility, which is inclusive, and not limiting to condition monitoring. It also includes inventory visibility, location awareness and end-consumer traceability.

The Solution Framework

The healthcare solutions framework should be anchored on five pillars:

  1. Right Medicine
  2. Right Condition
  3. Right Patient
  4. Right Location
  5. Right Time

The effective use of IoT and data capture technologies at the point of the activity are powerful tools, which seamlessly connect our physical and digital worlds by automating processes, collecting and storing critical Man, Method and Material data, and using this data for building intelligence, to be in the know, have control and build actionable insights. Edge technologies, processes and best practices are already available to the vaccine and drug manufacturing and distribution organisations. BCI has been doing this for decades and extensively worked with top pharma and distribution organisations, at BCI, we understand the needs of these industries at the core.

BCI’s comprehensive portfolio of solutions and a hybrid stack of edge technologies like Live and Passive IoT temperature sensors, QR Codes, RFID, Vision Systems and Software solutions, provide end-to-end supply chain visibility. We at BCI are continually working towards a solution that fits the need of the Nation!

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