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Going Cloud

Cloud technology has changed, and continues to change, the way people live, rest and do business. Here are some articles on how moving to the cloud is not a matter of if, but when -- if your organization has not done it already.

Cloud Technology Empowers Vaccine Distribution

Several vaccines have been developed in recent months to combat the spread of the COVID-19, and nearly all countries are in a rush to get their hands on such serums and inoculate the majority of their population. This leads to the nearly impossible task of transporting and distributing the jabs to every island on the planet.

Safely transporting the vaccines which have short expiry periods presents a serious challenge to the supply chain, to say the least. These vaccines require refrigeration the moment they get out of the laboratories and need to be dispersed to recipients as soon as possible to save lives and prevent the spread of the disease.

If countries are to achieve herd immunity, the logistics sector will play a crucial role in delivering Covid-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical plants to communities all over the world. 

Vaccines require the utmost care and proper temperature in cargo transport. In other words, they should be delivered without delay. There are disheartening stories about jabs being wasted because of road congestion, power outage and improper handling of the serums. Such problems may have been avoided, if information was always available and instantaneous.

This is why it is important to have a systematic or organized way of transporting the vaccines across oceans from the country of origin to thousands of cities across the world. In fact, many governments have formed task forces to specifically handle the distribution of the vaccines.

Because of the millions of serums being unloaded each month, not even an army could efficiently handle their distribution using the manual method of logging information.

Tech steps in

Fortunately, digital technologies have enabled people to adapt to the challenges brought about by the health crisis such as working from home and communicating real time to customers wherever they may be. In the transport and logistics sector, the same technologies empower vaccine manufacturers and delivery personnel to track the vaccine shipment while on flights, in the ships, trains, or container trucks through the use of temperature sensors, GPS trackers and IoT (internet of things) devices.

Pfizer, for example, introduced packaging and storage innovations and used GPS-enabled thermal sensors to ensure the integrity of the vaccines. Other pharmaceutical companies have their own systems in place because not all vaccine brands have the same requirements.

It is one of the challenges faced by the logistics sector—to ensure that it follows the standards for every vaccine brand there is. Each brand requires its own set of transportation and logistical circumstances. This may result in confusion, if data are not handled properly.

Inoculating billions of people would require massive amounts of information that should be made available as soon as possible. Such information include the types of vaccine, the number of doses, the volume of jabs needed in each town or city as well as the name, age and medical condition of the recipients.

Harmonizing such data and making them available in an instant is made possible by Cloud technology. Information on the cloud is most useful not only to the logistics sector but to the communities that are awaiting the arrival of the vaccines. Through mobile apps or websites, people can be notified about the exact day and time they can go to the inoculation centers to receive the jabs.

Data can be processed, interpreted and analyzed to make transportation and distribution more efficient and speed up the process. AI can also help the sector predict sources of delays and provide alternative plans. It can also predict if the vaccine doses can be used up in an inoculation center and if specialized storage will be needed for excess doses.

Real-time solutions are vital to the success of vaccination efforts globally. With the help of cloud technology and other digital solutions, information can be accessible anytime and anywhere to guide vaccine makers, the transport and logistics sector, and the healthcare industry in inoculating as many people as they can in a bid to contain the pandemic.