With many potential COVID-19 candidates and with several routine immunization campaigns affected by the pandemic, how do we preemptively plan for equitable vaccine distribution?
In my recent Op-Ed, I introduce a new approach called PAVE, to designate a “backbone” for the cold chain that can reach every person in a country. Similar to an emergency exit route that designates an unobstructed pathway to exit a building, this “backbone” will become the pathway for emergency vaccine storage and distribution. Once the equipment is identified, countries can then determine and direct the resources necessary to make that pathway as strong as possible, as soon as possible. PAVE would rely on existing datasets within a country to identify the strongest and most strategically important links in the current cold chain. With this Op-Ed, I encourage all of us to start questioning and thinking about the role of data for cold chain planning:
a) What are some datasets countries can start with in their planning?
b) What other planning activities have begun, even without knowing the storage and handling requirements of the eventual COVID-19 vaccine?
Look forward to hearing your questions and ideas!