For high levels of immunisation, around 10 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses are required globally by end of 2021 and further 7-9 billion doses are necessary annually to keep re-infection rates low and to slow down the pace of virus mutations, said a DHL white paper, 'Revisiting Pandemic Resilience'.
DHL, which has distributed more than 200 million vaccine doses to over 120 countries to date involving over 350 facilities and 9,000 flights, said locally adapted last-mile delivery, distribution models and a constant stock of vaccines will continue to be critical beyond 2021.
It noted that only four countries have achieved vaccination rates above 50 per cent to date and many of the remaining countries and territories have less-developed infrastructure, making the rollout more difficult.
Industries and nations must foster collaboration, paying special attention to building strong partnerships and a supportive data backbone. For safe inbound supply flows, proactive transport-capacity management and sustainable return flows for packaging are needed. This is particularly critical as more than 95 per cent of global COVID-19 vaccine doses are produced in just eight countries and need to be delivered worldwide.
Also locally tailored last-mile, ground distribution models should be put into place with a focus on strategic location of warehouses, the synchronisation of vaccines and ancillaries flow as well as the number and location of vaccination points, said the white paper.
"Logistics and supply chain management play a key role in pandemic management. Keeping supply chains running and ensuring delivery for essential health supplies provided valuable lessons," said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL. All sectors, industries, and nations must work together forming strong partnerships and leveraging data analytics will be key. "We also need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come," he said.
RS Subramanian, SVP and Managing Director, DHL Express India said better collaboration, boost for manufacturing capacity, research, production and procurement plans and expansion of local deployment capabilities are needed in the coming months to enhance vaccine availability in India.
To plan for the future, the paper suggested it is essential to identify and prevent health crises early through active partnerships, expanded global warning systems, an integrated epidemic-preventions agenda and targeted R&D investments. It is also recommended to expand and institutionalise virus containment and countermeasures (eg digital contact tracing and national stockpiles) to ensure strategic preparedness and more efficient response times. To facilitate a speedy rollout of medication (ie diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines), governments and industries should employ 'ever-warm' manufacturing capacity, blueprint research, production, and procurement plans, as well as expand local deployment capabilities.
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