Supply Chains and Vaccines

Supply Chain Management is about getting the material where it is needed.

A recent news story on Coronavirus vaccines highlights the complexity of supply chains in the health care world.

As reported by PoliticoThe ‘biggest challenge’ won’t come until after a coronavirus vaccine is found,” developing a vaccine effective against the coronavirus is only part of the challenge. The rest is all about getting that vaccine to the patients, which requires the manufacture of single-use vials using a special glass which is already in short supply.

In addition to the vials, specialized stoppers and single-use needles all need to be produced and shipped together with the vials. All these items are highly specialized and only a handful of companies produce them. Which leads to limited availability due to manufacturing shortages.

The vaccines require constant refrigeration through their entire distribution chain, which limits the types of transport used. Although the article doesn’t state this; if the vaccine requires constant refrigeration the shelf life must be relatively short, again adding to the distribution complexity.

This sounds like a big demand for medical-field logisticians in the near future.

Ron Charest

Ron is a native New Yorker and 22 year Navy veteran. He retired from active duty in 1996 and went on to build a successful post-Navy career in logistics. Ron currently works for a major Government consulting firm based in Washington D.C., and together with his wife Weifang make their home in Northern Virginia.