Innovative/Modern Distribution Methods U.S States are Using to Distribute the Covid-19 Vaccine

Innovative/non-traditional distribution methods in which US states are using, or intend to use, to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine include partnering with grocery store chains and independent pharmacies country-wide, as well as plans for drone delivery. The research team was unable to find some of the required granular details about these distribution methods as they are both in the early stages of development and roll-out/execution.

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1. Partnerships with Chain and Community Pharmacies

  • In November 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its partnership with various chain and community pharmacies across the US to deliver the COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • This partnership is believed to cover approximately 60% of pharmacies throughout all US states and is intended to reach “traditionally under-served areas“. A complete list of pharmacies and partners can be found here.
  • In a press release, HHS Secretary Alex Azar states, “the vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are available.”
  • The type of staff slated to perform the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines include pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians. They will also be the ones to inoculate the public at retail and grocery stores.
  • US News reports that Walgreens and CVS have began administering the vaccine in long-term care facilities and are expected to complete the first round of vaccinations by January 25, 2021. So far, 35,000 long-term care facilities and 31,000 assisted living facilities have partnered with Walgreens, with 8,000 long-term care facilities partnering with CVS.
  • GoodPx reports that Walgreens and CVS are on site in these facilities to provide the vaccinations to both the residents and staff.

2. Drone-enabled Delivery

  • Global Newswire reports that Draganfly, “an award-winning, industry-leading manufacturer and systems developer”, has been contracted by Coldchain Technology Services to develop and provide flight delivery services for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Coldchain Technology Services is touted to be “leading the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines throughout the United States“.
  • The flight delivery services will be implemented through drones that are expected to provide “a robust vaccine delivery payload for use in critical regions“. Draganfly drones are expected to carry a payload of 300 multi-doses or 100 single doses.
  • Wayne Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Coldchain Technology.had this to say, ““It is very exciting that COVID-19 vaccinations are starting to be distributed. Draganfly will help us solve the problem which is the timely and precise distribution of the vaccine in hard-to-reach areas”. Since the announcement on December 22, 2020, the research team was unable to find any current announcements on deployment or execution of this distribution method.

Research Strategy

To identify or create case studies of innovative/non-traditional ways in which US states are distributing COVID-19 vaccines, the research team began by searching through the current efforts made by US states in distributing the vaccines. There was plenty of information on current and traditional distribution methods,e.g. through hospitals, dedicated vaccination centers, and well-being clinics, but research did not find any particular highlights on innovative ways that states have gone about vaccine distribution. While there was a host of information about bottlenecks and challenges that states and the federal government are facing with their vaccine distribution efforts, the research team could only find suggestions on how to solve them (like those given by Senator Mitt Romney here and The Washington Post here). The two methods listed above are plans put in place, but in the case of partnerships with pharmacy chains, they have just began, and drone delivery that is yet to be implemented.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

COVID-19 Vaccine Operations North Dakota

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