“As a company, and as a country, we are vaccinating millions of people quickly. It is fascinating to see how people nationwide are contributing to fight COVID-19 to get us back to normal. There is no playbook thus, as a nation, it is all hands on deck,” Ashok Mathur, Founder & CEO, Patagonia Health.
COVID-19 has taken a toll on countless industries, and health care providers have not been spared from the impact. Communities and medical centers nationwide have had to adapt and innovate efficiently to remain competitive. This past year has shown us the importance of being agile, not only in life, but also in work. In order to properly treat America, manufacturers of the COVID-19 virus are learning to use their resources best by innovating the vaccine process; manufacturing at larger scales, delivering shipments more efficiently, and working through clinics to reach communities.
Vaccine Innovation, posthaste: Due to the novel nature of the virus, the necessity to produce a quality vaccine quickly could not be deterred. To get our communities back to normal, we needed a vaccine, fast. Many pharmaceutical companies stepped up their manufacturing; they received funding and government relief to produce the vaccine at record times using the same safeguards and checking processes required of other vaccines. Although skepticism is understandable, we can rest in the fact that all proper safety measures are being taken in the development of the vaccines.
Manufacturing, at scale: Getting the vaccines approved was only half the battle; now the challenges moved to the manufacturing process. Companies are overcoming numerous bottlenecks to manufacture at massive volumes. There is no playbook for such massive production at the scale necessary. Currently, international drug manufacturing companies are teaming up with US manufacturers to ease the production of the vaccine. In addition to the struggle of producing billions of doses, corporations are endeavoring to find new staff for assembly lines. Due to the increased demand for assembly lines to produce larger masses, manufacturers are needing greater amounts of assembly workers educated on the assembly of medical resources. Another major obstacle for vaccine distribution is the weather. With production at an all time high in the winter months; ice, snow, and polar storms are major problems when moving supplies through the north and the Midwest. With mass amounts of doses, comes quite a few large obstacles; however, with monetary allocations from the CDC, healthcare companies are actively finding solutions.
Vaccines Delivery, in droves: As vaccines are being manufactured at record levels, challenges with delivery and predictability emerge. When distribution started in late December 2020, FedEx was one of the first companies to aid in shipping. Being the world’s largest express transportation service, it is only natural for FedEx to step into this role. FedEx is delivering shipments of vaccines as well as committing $4 million in the effort to reach under-served communities in these nations. In addition to FedEx, the US National Guard is stepping up their game in the coronavirus relief effort. The National Guard is aiding the delivery of vaccines using their resources to transport shipments to healthcare workers and state personnel. Due to the contribution of transportation services, the delivery is being expedited and can be efficiently dispersed throughout the nation.
Vaccination by clinics, en masse: Our county health departments and other healthcare agencies are dealing with a myriad of challenges to scale up vaccinations. Staff is being reallocated and seasonal employees are being hired to meet the demand for contact tracing and vaccination at clinics. There is no playbook, and it is all hands on deck. With the need for medical staff at an all time high in 2020, facilities are moving towards telehealth services including use of electronic health records and coronavirus screening software. Automated medical help eliminates the need for essential health care workers and allows patients to organize their medical data and learn to diagnose their symptoms and contact using screening software. With software acting as the primary initial contact for those needing care, health care workers can further analyze requests and determine who is the most jeopardized and who needs immediate care. Medical professionals are also utilizing technology to communicate with patients who have the resources to connect for virtual appointments. This allows time and effort to be allocated properly to those who do not have the capability to connect and communicate with doctors online. Clinics are using software to its full capacity to schedule and treat patients with the vaccine through drive-in testing and administration.
Patagonia Health Responsiveness, at speed: To fight the pandemic, Patagonia Health’s R&D team innovated and collaborated with its customers to develop many resources to aid in the response to COVID-19, including an all new Mass Vaccination App, in a record time. Against the clock, we methodically designed, tested every scenario and rolled out this new feature in phases. While we too experienced the COVID-19 challenges, our rapid deployment enables us to meet the needs of our customers and their ever-changing workflows/needs. There is no playbook. “We have very smart people and it is great to see our staff jumping in, adapting and innovating”said Ashok Mathur, CEO, Patagonia Health. It’s all hands on deck. Adapting and Innovating continue. “We can not rest until we do our part to fight this public health pandemic. Public Health agencies (and their communities) need us and we have been ready. I am glad that we have an opportunity to serve” stated Mathur.