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International Forwarding Association Blog » Supply chain » Data Integrity Crucial to Global Vaccination Efforts
shipping vaccines

Data Integrity Crucial to Global Vaccination Efforts

For most people logistics companies are simply in the business of shipping cargo and goods from point of origin to final destination. While this is certainly true, they are also involved in data collection, analysis, and processing. Safe and efficient shipping requires data from a variety of sources such as analytics and transport management solutions, enterprise resource planning systems, and real-time navigation systems, to name a few. Freight forwarders also use sensors to monitor factors such as sudden starts and stops, speed, vibration, and temperature inside containers. And while data is valuable, just having it is not enough. Data integrity is of key importance, and the challenges of a global vaccine rollout show how critical it is.

 

export controls on Covid-19

 

Why Is Data Integrity Important?

Shipping mission-critical items such as vaccines is challenging but Covid-19 vaccine delivery has proven to be especially tricky. One reason is the large volume of doses that have to be transported quickly from manufacturing facilities to hundreds and even thousands of locations worldwide. Coordination with cold-storage capabilities is crucial because of the vaccines’ short shelf life.

Here is what data integrity involves for vaccine shipping – location intelligence, integration, enrichment, and quality. Location intelligence, for example, enables logistics companies to identify connections between thigs, places, and people and what happens there. This is especially important in remote and rural regions where supply chain disruptions are a source of concern. To complete the last mile, shippers need real-time data such as traffic along different routes, road restrictions and conditions, weather, and loading dock locations.

Enrichment involves the use of additional sources of information such as cold-storage capacity at delivery destinations. Without such data, vaccines may end up in a facility that has no room for additional doses. Integration is a third component which is crucial for decision-making support. It allows shippers to access information such as exactly when to deliver, where vaccines need to go, and which is the most efficient, safest, and quickest route. Finally, when it comes to quality, information must be consistent, timely, accurate, unique, and complete to ensure proper shipping and management.

Data Integrity Prevents Vaccine Waste

It is important to track metrics when shipping vaccines as to prevent waste, especially when it comes to time-sensitive products. Temperature deviation not only degrades certain pharmaceutical products but can make them harmful for human health. In fact, temperature-controlled transport is required for a significant number of shipments. Overall, passive cooling solutions are used for about 75 percent of deliveries while 20 percent of shipments need active temperature control. Passive solutions are easier and less expensive to implement. As some vaccine varieties require active control, it is important that shipping companies achieve data integrity to prevent vaccine degradation. As data by the International Air Transport Association shows, around 25 percent of doses get wasted due to inadequate temperature management. This makes proper handling essential to protecting population health and saving lives across the globe.