After successfully dodging most of the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic threw at us in 2020, India finally is at a point where the vaccines are all set to roll out and reach the general populace. However, one last challenge remains: the safe and timely distribution of the vaccines, something the average Indian supply chain isn’t ready to meet yet.
In one of our previous blogs, we talked about the various roadblocks India would be facing in the mass distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and also laid down the five pillars the healthcare solutions framework should be anchored on. Essentially, for the efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, it is very crucial to closely monitor the supply chain right from manufacturing to administration.
While the vaccine will travel through various channels and modes, it is important to understand that each stage will be crucial till it ultimately is administered. Given the population of India this task becomes even more complex and hence the need for technology, to ensure all factors are taken care of and all data recorded. Let us take you through a few things that will explain the basic process, the challenges and the solution to the complexities of the COVID19 vaccine Supply Chain
The Process of the VACCINE distribution:
The central government has plans to procure the vaccines directly from the drugmakers and distribute them across the (approx.) 30 crore priority beneficiaries selected by the Govt. – including healthcare professionals and frontline workers. They will be vaccinated under a special COVID immunization programme. The supply chain deployed in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines in India will rely on a network of vaccine manufacturers, state and federal agencies, and various logistics and distribution partners.
The chain will therefore span the pharmaceutical corporations charged with the production of the vaccines, Hospitals and Healthcare Centres that fall under the COVID immunization programme, and of course, the people on the vaccine priority list.
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What are the foreseen Challenges across the Supply Chain
One of India’s first challenges in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is making sure all the vaccines are being transported while complying with all regulatory requirements, that too without breaking off the cold chain from any production locations.
As of right now, India has around 27,000 cold chain points. However, in this report by Indianexpress.com, it’s revealed that none of the companies have the capability to transport vaccines any colder than -25 degrees Celsius. Therefore, it’s plausible that condition control for the Covid-19 vaccines would turn out to be a challenge.
The undeniable inter-state disparity in the distribution of cold chain points throughout the country can also prove to be a major problem in efficient distribution. For instance, while around 4 cold chain points serve a population of 100,000 in Gujarat, there’s just one cold chain for the same number of people in Jharkhand. In fact, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar happen to be some of the least served states when it comes to cold chain infrastructure. This makes inter-state Covid-19 vaccination quite a strenuous undertaking indeed.
Along with cold chain logistics for last-mile distribution in a vast country like India, there’s also the fact that an ideal supply chain would need to monitor the vaccine all through its transit across the supply chain up until it gets dosed. Therefore, what we can see here is that the foremost challenges an Indian supply chain will be facing in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines can be classified into three primary categories:
- A large, palletized load
- Ensuring stability& monitoring across Multimodal transportation
- Condition control for the vaccines
- Inventory management
- Challenges in the Distribution of the Vaccines
- Failure to ensure stability in the last mile
- Inventory visibility, reaching the right people at the given time
- Reverse logistics procedure
Having said that, the biggest challenges in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines can be neatly solved by the right use of technology. Leveraging up and coming technologies such as the IoT (Internet of Things) and scalable cloud applications, for instance, can improve efficiency in supply chain management by a broad margin.
Below is a representation of the specific challenges and solutions that BCI offers for the COVID19 Vaccine Supply Chain
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BCI’s solutions have been trusted by major companies across industries for years. For over two decades we have worked with some of the biggest enterprises around the globe. Our 250+ strong team has deep domain knowledge in the market verticals such as retail, transport & logistics and manufacturing. This strong foundation has given our clients the trust in us to always bring in value and innovation to the work we do together. We’re confident our solutions will be of use as India prepares to tackle a large-scale operation like the Covid-19 vaccine distribution.
To learn more about our IoT powered solutions for supply chain management, you’d want to visit our website here. Also subscribe to stay updated with more COVID19 updates