The Journey Matters: Why Vaccine Supply Chains Deserve Much More Attention

Thursday, April 27, 2017

No matter how effective, no matter how technologically advanced, no matter how inexpensive a vaccine may be, if it cannot get to the person who needs the vaccine, it cannot work. Period. Herein rests the vital, yet under-recognized, importance of vaccine supply chains.

Vaccine supply chains involve complex procedures, logistics, storage facilities, vehicles, refrigerators, freezers, and other equipment involved in getting vaccines from where they are manufactured to people who need them. Think supply chains are simple? Businesses of all types routinely invest substantial time, effort, and resources to ensure that they have effective supply chains. Many of the world’s leading businesses such as Amazon and Walmart owe their successes to having supply chains that are superior to their competitors.

A supply chain is like an orchestra, lots of moving parts that need to be coordinated. And when an orchestra is not coordinated, your ears may hurt. When a vaccine supply chain is not well coordinated, people may fall ill or die from preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, tetanus, polio, and rotavirus. Supply chains affect everyone. Not just supply chain experts. Not just those in the vaccine world. Not just the people who get infected. Not just the businesses that lose productivity or the health systems that have to care for the sick. Everyone.

Source: Global Health NOW (link opens in a new window)

Health Care