The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of our lives. It has also accelerated the crucial importance of the evolving public/private sector partnership around the world. While close to 2.3 million lives have already been lost to the virus, many more contagious variants are being discovered in several countries from the UK to Brazil to South Africa and elsewhere. The logistical complexity and imbalance of supply and demand have created challenges for state, local and national governments to efficiently and effectively vaccinate their people. To say that time is of the essence in vaccinating as much of the global population as possible is an understatement.
Vaccine Distribution Bottlenecks: A Global Problem
Most vaccines require two doses for full effect, which means there is a need for roughly 15 billion doses globally, making this the most logistically difficult vaccination campaign in history.
So far, only a handful of countries have succeeded in vaccinating more than 5% of their population. The inoculation effort is creating frustration in countries like France and the Netherlands which got off to a slow start, and delight in Israel, the UAE and UK, which have garnered praise for managing vaccinations well. In the U.S., less than 40% of distributed vaccines have been administered. In Europe and elsewhere, vaccine shipments have been stalled or cut, and programs everywhere have faced substantial setbacks due to nursing and equipment shortages, vaccine supply chain logistics, and slow-moving processes. In other parts of the world, governments have struggled to even procure vaccines, not yet vaccinating their citizens.
Reports of vaccine scheduling difficulties have surfaced, along with accounts of residents standing in long lines for hours and ineffective software not designed for vaccine management. In addition, much planning goes into cold-storage capacity and cold-chain management needed by both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which has at times overshadowed the actual administration of the doses.
As we sprint to get vaccination programs going, global collective action across all sectors is needed.
Public/Private Sector Collaboration: A Global Solution
The public is eager to understand when they will be vaccinated. At the same time, governments want to ensure information is clearly disseminated, and businesses are interested in solidifying plans for the future of work. This is why private/public sector collaboration is a powerful force.
With over 5,400 global enterprise customers, Everbridge already plays a significant role in bridging the gaps across the public and private sectors in eleven countries and over 200 territories worldwide. More than 3,700 of these customers are public safety agencies, including many in disaster-prone and heavily populated areas. In the U.S., the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses Everbridge exclusively for their emergency management software.
With our COVID-19 Shield™: Vaccine Distribution software platform we are assisting government agencies and other organizations with their vaccine distribution management by providing them with a single, unified platform to expedite vaccine coordination, communication, and distribution for all residents, including vulnerable populations with special needs. The solution includes the following features among the suite’s broader CEM capabilities:
- Enhanced COVID-19 Risk Feed showcasing vital real-time information, including the incidence of new virus strains and vaccine-related intelligence;
- Crisis Management Module to follow, log and audit the transport, handling, and/or administration of the vaccine;
- Vaccine Distribution Logistics Service to provide situational awareness to better manage vaccine supply chains;
- Customized Employee Surveys to help confirm whether employees have received the vaccine;
- Appointment Management Tool to help manage the scheduling, tracking, and communications of vaccine administration; and
- Out-of-Box Workflows in Smart Orchestration to help improve distribution management, such as vaccine appointment follow-ups.
Additionally, The Everbridge Network provides an information-sharing channel where customers can push details about their current preparations, response, recovery, and challenges they may face when it comes to vaccine distribution management. This publishing channel is available for all Everbridge customers to view and even re-broadcast situational intelligence received by their internal and/or external stakeholders with permission. The technology contains threshold alerting to automate the most emergent information shared to the network based on location(s) and keywords. On February 4, Everbridge launched the ‘Vaccine’ keyword – text Vaccine to 888777 –enabling up-to-date information via SMS.
Vaccine Distribution Success in West Virginia
One success story in vaccine distribution management is the state of West Virginia. Powered by Everbridge’s statewide deployment, West Virginia leads the U.S. with nearly 100% of first-round doses of vaccines administered. West Virginia rapidly deployed Everbridge in one week, and turned each first-round dose into an immunization, leading the way well above a national average of 53% immunized. Governor Jim Justice offers best practices for other states, saying “if it’s not working, quit running the same play. Call us up on the phone and we’ll tell you exactly what to do.”
Using our CEM Platform, West Virginians have the ability to pre-register, receive real-time updates on vaccine availability, and schedule appointments to get vaccinated when supplies allow. Individuals can opt-in to receive regular communication updates on West Virginia’s vaccination process. The system allows people to select their preferences for communication through texts, email, or voicemails over regular phone lines.
“We have partnered with Everbridge,” said Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia in a press conference for state residents. “Everbridge helps states notify their citizens when there’s a fire, a flood, or a hurricane, but now they are going to help us coordinate vaccines as we can get them from the federal government. We will be the first state to turn on this new vaccine scheduling system. Everbridge helped us stand this up in one week’s time.”
The Road to Recovery
Our goal is to help other states, countries, and territories around the world achieve a similar outcome. Our collective success on the road to recovery hinges on the global collaboration of a complex network of public and private organizations. Technology can change lives and can be a valuable tool in moments like this. Close collaboration with technology developers, private enterprises, governments, and health care providers will help countries inoculate their people against COVID-19 and enable the return to work, return to travel and return to life.
For more information about the way public and private sectors are using Everbridge technology, visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Management resource. To learn more, schedule a demo or connect with a member of our team.