The Role Of E-commerce In Overcoming Huge Logistics Challenges Around COVID19 Vaccine Distribution
The battle waged against COVID19 has had its fair of challenges, but various key players in the pharmaceutical industry took to their labs to develop vaccines and potential cure. Its 2021 and vaccines have already developed, meaning that the war against the pandemic is well on its way to being won.
Vaccine development has been an important milestone, but then more challenges presented themselves. One of the biggest of them has been how to rapidly deploy those vaccines to billions of people worldwide. The solutions to this problem have not only been vital for vaccine deployment, but they also highlight the role of e-commerce and logistics companies in slowing down the viral spread.
The important contributions of logistics companies in the fight against COVID19
PPEs and medical supplies saw a surge in demand in the first half of 2020 during the coronavirus’s first wave. Manufacturers had to ramp up their production and work with logistics companies to make sure that the products circulated across the globe. Products such as face masks and hand sanitizers have been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID19 fight. Logistics companies played a pivotal role in that regard.
The same case applies to e-commerce companies. People were able to access pandemic necessities by shopping online. Shopping areas such as malls and markets make it easier for a virus like COVID19 to spread because they are highly congested and facilitate a lot of human interaction. The ability to buy necessities online and conveniently deliver to people’s doorsteps meant people could avoid high exposure areas.
Exploring Amazon’s contribution to the fight against the pandemic
Amazon is a formidable force in e-commerce, and it wants to extend its contributions during the global pandemic beyond just making it easier for people to shop during lockdown. In January 2021, the e-commerce giant offered to help the U.S government to spread vaccines across the country. It also secured a deal with one of the major healthcare providers to provide onsite vaccination to its workers at warehouses across the U.S.
Amazon’s CEO Dave Clark released a statement saying that the company was ready to act quickly as soon as vaccines were available. The statement came after President Joe Biden promised to deliver at least 100 million vaccines to U.S citizens within the first 100 days of his administration.
Amazon already has an extensive network that includes cargo planes, delivery trucks, and vans that constitute its e-commerce operations. This is the same network that is used to achieve same-day deliveries to online shoppers. The e-commerce network is uniquely suited to facilitate rapid deployment and delivery of coronavirus vaccines across the U.S. Such a capacity could come in handy in ramping up efforts against the viral spread. Amazon’s commitment against the coronavirus pandemic echoes its employees’ concerns being exposed to the viral spread.
Amazon’s help in vaccine deployment and delivery is a game changer for the government in its efforts to get a leg-up against the coronavirus pandemic. Having people vaccinated as soon as possible might help save many people’s lives.
DHL’s role in COVID19 supply chain
DHL is another company that has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The global logistics company experienced a surge in shipping volumes related to PPEs, medical supplies, and e-commerce related purchases. However, the pandemic’s impact also meant many countries closed their borders to control the viral spread, and flights were grounded. The company had a rough time accessing most countries.
The first wave of the pandemic was enough to uncover the vulnerabilities in global supply chains. DHL is among the companies that have vast experience in the segment, but grounded flights and closed borders proved to be difficult challenges to navigate. However, the company’s business model still meant that it was one of the ideal industry players that could help deploy the vaccines across the world. It was also one of the logistics companies that helped paint an accurate picture of the logistics challenges involved in coronavirus vaccine distribution across the world.
What will it take to vaccinate the entire world?
More than 7 billion people globally, and defeating COVID19 means rolling out vaccines to everyone for immunization. This is a huge undertaking and has its fair share of challenges. AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna are the three main companies whose vaccines have been approved for combatting the viral spread. The three companies claim that they can produce 5.3 billion vaccines in 2021, and getting that many vaccines across the world is a logistics nightmare.
Some of the vaccines need to be stored in extremely cold temperatures down to -80°C. Existing medical supply chains distribute medicines at temperatures ranging between -2°C to -8°C, which means they are not equipped to facilitate the global distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Such medical supply chains will have to invest heavily to have the right capacity and the right cooling boxes that can deliver the vaccines under extremely cold temperatures.
According to DHL, roughly 15 million cooling boxes will be required to facilitate 200,000 pallet shipments, and it would take about 15,000 flights to make it happen. DHL has a lot of experience working with cold storage solutions for vaccines in the past. Its partnership with healthcare and pharmaceutical industry players focuses on distributing medicines to hospitals, research facilities, and labs. This experience is paying off for DHL to make it a pivotal player in global vaccine delivery of COVID19 vaccines.
2021 is presenting challenges similar to those experienced in 2020 due to the new wave of infections. Some countries have already closed their borders, meaning companies like Amazon and DHL have to go through delays to get vaccines and other essentials across borders. It might call for governments across the world to collaborate in an effort to facilitate smoother and speedier vaccine delivery operations. Medical supply chains will have to be brought up to the capacity to ensure mission success.