Why Technology Plays an Important Role in Effective Vaccine Distribution
As the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, the conversation is shifting from preventive measures to vaccination. Prevention is always better than cure; thus, as health experts continue to focus on tracing, treating, and caring for the patients, there is a need to vaccinate the masses. Technological advancements have played a critical role in curbing the virus’s spread since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. During vaccination, it is expected that technology will continue to play a significant role in ensuring equitable, fast, and affordable access to the vaccine. Here are top roles that technology is expected to play:
1. Enhancing wider distribution of the vaccine
Using Vaccination Carts, health experts have set up vaccination clinics in remote areas and other non-hospital areas. The center for disease control targets to get at least 20 million people vaccinated within the first two months of 2021. For this target to be achieved, vaccination centers must be set up in churches, mosques, schools, parking lots, shopping centers, social halls, and many other places. Leading experts have applauded the up-take of this technological innovation in the distribution of the vaccine in a clean and hygienic environment, outside the hospital set-up. Remember, there is a need to reduce congestion in hospitals to ensure only critically ill patients requiring special attention go to the hospitals. Thus by setting up mobile clinics and using such tools to store and prepare the vaccines, medics can get more people vaccinated.
- Enhancing access to real-time information
Information access has been the major challenge in curbing covid-19 spread and treatment. Being a new pandemic implies limited availability and access to information relating to the virus. The technological tools like A-I-based chat pot technology-enabled personalized responses to questions at the onset of the pandemic. Today, the platform has been improved to ensure that people can get information on the vaccine’s eligibility and availability. Questions like expected side effects, the vaccine’s safety, especially for persons living with preexisting conditions, and other safety concerns relating to the vaccine.
Further, tools like Azure give health experts real-time information relating to the side effects of the vaccine. Being a new vaccine, and with little available information, every response received from the patients is critical in ensuring a safe vaccine. Thus, while distribution is essential, removing information bottlenecks is even more critical. The goal of the vaccination drive is to convince the masses that the vaccine is safe and secure.
- Ensuring proper storage of the vaccine
Technology has enabled proper storage of the vaccine by using some tools like the cold vaccine chain. The two leading vaccines developed by Pfizer and their counterpart Moderna require extremely low temperatures, as low as -80oC for Pfizer and -20 oC for Moderna to remain effective. These low conditions can be extremely challenging, particularly in the warm Tropical climate in Africa.
During the Ebola outbreak in the Central African Republic, the vaccine cold chain technology remained the most innovative technological tool in ensuring vaccine distribution in Africa’s most remote villages. As the vaccination rolls out in Africa and across the world, health experts rely on this technology to ensure that the vaccine is kept in the prescribed conditions until it is administered to the masses.
Thus, technology will continue to play a huge role in curbing the Covid-19 pandemic. During the screening, testing, treatment, vaccination, and training, technology has proved to be a critical tool at every step of the way.