Remote Monitoring Conquered Vaccine Distribution

Published by Patrick Famisaran on

The Essence of Remote Monitoring Conquered the Vaccines' Distribution

The rise of COVID-19 vaccines gave us a renewed hope. The vaccines gave us another flicker of optimism. Finally, a medium to help us go through this pandemic in a positive light. It is well and good that we keep a positive mindset after a year of grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The rising infection cases seem like old news already. However we now enter a new challenge. The stark realities for the pharma and cold chain logistics industry are daunting. We have vaccines to help us in our fight against the COVID-19 virus. The question now is — how can we distribute it to people? Are the facilities ready for it? Can these facilities properly store and monitor these vaccines? Are facilities’ staff ready for 24/7 remote monitoring? Getting the vaccine to people is a demanding reality.

So, Where Are We Now?

According to World Health Organization (WHO), there are seven vaccines approved already. The three leading candidates are from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna. If we are to compare the three, there are apparent differences.

Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines got the authority from US FDA for emergency use. Results from AstraZeneca showed a 70% efficacy average. Two separate dosing medications saw 90% and 60% efficacy. With a high efficacy rate, these vaccines are now the frontrunners. They can be of help to us in preventing the spread of COVID-19. It is important to note that efficacy implies specific distribution requirements.  

Distribution Challenges

On a global distribution scale, the COVID-19 poses an enormous challenge. The logistics need per vaccine is very specific and requires careful preparation. The cold chain will need to adapt to meet the challenge. These innovations will help cater to the demand parameters. 

Storage Requirements

All three vaccines have different shipping and storage temperature requirements. Meeting the temperature parameters of the three vaccine manufacturers is crucial.

The challenge to ease the distribution of each vaccine depends on the use of equipment. Specific storage units are applicable for each. The Pfizer vaccine requires an ultra-low temperature freezer to maintain its efficacy. Of the three, AstraZeneca may have the most uncomplicated temperature need.

Vaccine Maintenance

Preserving the vaccine at utmost quality lies in meeting its temperature conditions. Maintaining the cold chain from the manufacturer to the recipient needs a strategy. Remote monitoring of the temperature at the standard range is very important for the vaccine. There are some strategies to prepare for vaccine maintenance during distribution:

Vaccine Daily Inventory

It refers to the number of vaccines for distribution. It also includes documentation of parameters. Of course, the most important one is tracking the temperature. A daily log at regular intervals during transit and upon storage is necessary.  It can also protect vaccines’ reliability. The use of sensors follows any chance of temperature excursion. Remote site sensors are convenient for monitoring the transit of vaccines. A wireless temperature sensor can send a readily available notification. AKCP’s NIST2 sensors have the same feature for reliable remote temperature monitoring

Inventory count after installing their  remote monitoring system
Photo Credit: spectrumnews1.com

Correct Storage Units

With vaccines having specific storage requirements, proper storage is necessary. Correct storage pertains to the particular use of medical-grade refrigerators. It also refers to the use of ultra-low temperature freezers. The choice of these cold storages is dependent on the vaccine storing needs. This will limit inventory overcrowding. 

Emergency Procedures

In unanticipated disasters, an emergency standard protocol outlines the steps for vaccine protection. In the case of power failures, considering specific alternative routes are significant. Backup emergency power can help during a power outage. Outlining the measures in emergencies is standard in vaccine distribution. The aid from emergency sensors can also make life easier. AKCP Power Monitor sensor can do remote monitoring. It will send immediate alerts in instances of power fluctuations. Since usage is remote, the need for a manual audit is also limited. 

Security Risks

Vaccines are now considered an important commodity. The demand for it requires generous funding and significant investments. During transit, direct sabotage of the vaccines can happen. Cases of theft can also occur. This is because there is a high demand to access it. These security risks are the realities a logistic facility will have to face. There are courses of action that can mitigate these risks.

GPS Location

Monitoring is not only limited to the temperature. Because transport is one of the more insecure steps in the process, locating it in transit is a priority. There are GPS sensors that can provide location data for tracking. Installing monitoring videos can also help in checking your vaccine warehouse

Authorize Access

Access to the vaccine should be for direct personnel only. This will negate any unlawful chance to covet the vaccine. It also limits the number of touchpoints as access is only available for a limited number of people. A digital door lock enhances the security to maintain the quality of the vaccines. AKCP’s security sensor is a useful tool to check storage doors. Alerts can notify the user. It can also capture pictures for comprehensive visual feedback. The AKCP securityProbe5 can also monitor the physical environment. It can send alerts for any disturbances. It can send alerts for unauthorized intruders and security breaches. 

Authorize access only for hospital staff
Photo Credit: www.nytimes.com

Transparency 

The public will have to trust the vaccine for it to be successful. To do so, parameters should be held at the highest standards. The evidence in meeting the distribution requirements comes from comprehensive reporting. The monitoring report includes all pertinent data about vaccine storage and handling. This documentation should also cover all transit processes. 

There are types of monitoring software that have a central interface for users. Regulatory requirements state that monitoring your vaccine is standard practice. The use of remote monitoring servers can be beneficial to that. The AKCP remote monitoring solution is capable of tracking the vaccine. It can check transit from the factory to the end-users. It can also provide granular visibility in different touchpoints along the way. With wireless sensors as data loggers, the information then syncs to a central server. 

With users having access to a central server, alerts are tracked regularly. Report with specific details can be handy. Security access feature is also a standard protocol whereby negating unauthorized use.  The user interface can also prompt better transfer of vaccine rollout. The user can ease vaccine transfer to specific hubs on the ground. The easiest part is it enables you to do it remotely. Getting graphs and reports with specific details is a great bonus as well. A user can digitally sign a report in compliance with whatever standard parameters. 

Public Trust challenge

There are certain hesitations from the public.  This comes despite the pressing need to prevent the pandemic. Because of past failures in vaccine rollout, the public is more skeptical. Relevant stakeholders are increasing their education campaigns to bridge the information gap. This information is vital in making people understand that vaccines are not harmful. The data can iterate that vaccines met the regulatory standards required during distribution. Scientists alike are also pushing the need for vaccination in layman’s form. The contribution to the needed information is also significant from a logistical standpoint.

The reports from the distribution process can aid in settling the mistrust of the public. Providing them a good account of handling the vaccines eases their preconceived notions. Documenting the storage regulations followed can relieve them of any doubts.  

Hurdling the vaccine distribution is challenging. This is why standard regulatory guidelines should supplement the distribution processes. One of that standards is the need for comprehensive monitoring information. In the end, this information cannot only ensure the reliability of vaccine distribution. It can also help negate the trust issues from the public. 

Photo credit: www.scientificamerican.com/

Reference Links:

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/ca/news/professional-liability/understanding-the-unique-distribution-challenges-of-covid19-vaccines-245825.aspx

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines

https://www.vizientinc.com/-/media/documents/sitecorepublishingdocuments/public/covid19_sidebyside_vaccinecompare.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/16/us-coronavirus-vaccine-distribution-challenges

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-vaccines

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/moderna-covid-19-vaccine


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