From Day 1, the vaccine rollout has faced problems. Countries had a shortage of vaccines, or enough vaccines but lost them to expiration dates or broken freezers. Was it one dose? Two doses?
But it didn’t have to be that way, healthtech founder Joan Melendez describes. With the right healthtech tools, governments could ensure patients guaranteed safety and a more efficient vaccine rollout.
Joan shared her thoughts about why the vaccine rollout is prone to errors, in her latest Entrepreneur article:
“Every single step in the supply chain for this vaccine needs to go right. That’s from the manufacturer, to the truckers and shipping companies, to the receiving health facilities, right up to the literal point of contact with patients getting injections of the vaccine.
“With the COVID vaccine, we have the added complication of a cold chain—actually, several. Different freezers will have to run at different temperatures for different vaccines from different manufacturers. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at minus 80 degrees, for instance—and most commercial freezers (if you can get your hands on them, given the rush) won’t even get that cold.
“And at every hand-off, up to administering the vaccine to an actual person, you’ll need trained people to make sure that cold chain isn’t broken.
“As someone involved in medical technology training, I can tell you that “miracle cure” technology is only as good as the professional delivering it. Adverse events can and do happen - more often than you’d like to think.”
For healthtech companies, now is the ideal time to go to market. We may be coming out of crisis mode, but the gaps in the healthcare system are clear now.
Joan details the challenges and opportunities that have appeared over the last year:
“From the start of the pandemic, hospitals from coast to coast have struggled to provide front-line workers with masks that meet safety standards. It’s not like these facilities lacked motivation. And the resources were there -- but human error (and in many cases, outright fraud) has been a huge problem. By that yardstick, the vaccine distribution process is almost certain to face much more complicated challenges.
“There’s enough demand out there that responsible companies will be able to top up their profit margins as they save the world. (As it happens, my own company is rolling out a scanning and tracking solution to help make this vaccination distribution process safer in the coming weeks). For entrepreneurs in the health field, this is the ultimate opportunity to prove their worth for customers and patients.”
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