When the FDA approves one or more Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use -- which could happen by mid-December -- this will launch the largest public health and logistics initiative in U.S. history.
Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses will be shipped and distributed, and they will have to be kept very cold. In addition, people will need to be conscientious about getting both shots of the vaccine for strongest immunity, and vaccine skeptics will have to be convinced that the medicines are both safe and effective.
In a new article from Georgia Tech's Research Horizons, Pinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems, provides insight into the enormous challenges presented by this mammoth vaccine distribution. Even though distributing and administering vaccines is something the U.S. healthcare system does routinely, the size and timeline of this project are unprecedented, she noted.
Keskinocak is cautiously optimistic that the challenges will ultimately be addressed.
“There are certainly still lots of unknowns,” she said. “But the state plans I have seen look reasonable from a supply chain standpoint. Some of the decisions will be made once the states receive the vaccine, and exactly how they do it will be somewhat up to the local jurisdictions. There are still many things that need to be decided to make this unprecedented initiative live up to its goals.”
You can read the entire article on the Research Horizons website here.