Worries about connecting vaccine supply to demand

This is intended to respond to questions I have received from several regarding future distrubtion of the coronavirus vaccine.  My core perspective:

The United States is likely to have large supplies of coronavirus vaccine(s) sometime in the next six to twelve months. Short shelf life combined with ultra-cold transportation and storage requirements will seriously constrain distribution and delivery of available supplies. We do not (yet) have effective processes for targeting real demand.  We need accurate demand targeting to optimize whatever logistics capacity that can be made available.

In addition to the enclosed, I encourage you to review the Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief on Vaccine Distribution.

Today and yesterday CBS Morning News has given attention to the distribution issue. The two links that follow are largely consistent with what I have read, researched, and understand regarding our strategic context.

Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution will face a Big Challenge (6 minutes, 35 seconds with transcript)
US Official Leading COVID-19 Distribution says”no shortcuts are being taken on safety.” (4 minutes, 22 seconds with transcript)

My own take-away:  This is hugely ambitious, but seems to be credibly coming together for production and distribution to major hubs.  An analogy: the soup is being cooked and canned. Safety and effectiveness are being tested.  The functions and pieces are coming together to load the cans into cases, onto pallets, and transport the soup in increasing volumes and velocity to the regional Distribution Centers.  I am not yet hearing and seeing evidence that I find personally persuasive about this emergent system’s ability to maximize flow outbound from the Distribution Centers to retailers and consumers.

Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution is an uncertain, complex, and evolving situation. In my judgment your best bets for managing the innate (and creative) chaos will be 1) a clear understanding of your local/regional supply network and its current capacity, 2) meaningful relationships with your region’s key suppliers and their transportation providers, and 3) a best-possible near-real-time understanding of population demand. I hope this sounds familiar. These are the recurring keys to the kingdom of Supply Chain Resilience.

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