This week marks another important milestone in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that being the initial start of vaccine distribution.
As global wide coronavirus infection rates approach 73 million people globally, and as the United States leads the world with over 300,000 deaths reported thus far, the first doses of approved vaccine are making their way to initial high prioritized people.
Similar to what occurred in the United Kingdom last week, and what is also occurring in Canada, the initial vaccinations of the now approved Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have begun their journey across the United States as an initial 3 million doses make their way to designated hospitals and other healthcare facilities among various U.S. States.
The first recorded patient to receive the vaccine occurred today with an emergency services nurse in the New York City health network.
Another 3 million doses is being held back to ensure initial prioritized populations of healthcare workers get their second vaccine dose in 21 days. Pfizer anticipates upwards of 25 million doses to be available in the U.S. by the end of this month
The U.S. Operation Warp Speed effort is further planning for the approval of the Moderna developed vaccine to come as early as sometime toward the end of this week.
Both of these developed vaccines require two doses, but each has different storage and handling requirements.
For this initial phase of vaccine distribution, U.S. officials anticipate that about 100 million of highest priority Americans, mostly front-line healthcare workers, high risk elderly, first responders and deemed essential workers to receive the vaccine in this first phase which is expected to extend thru March 2021.
On Sunday, cable news networks in the U.S. provided live feeds from the Pfizer production and distribution facility outside Kalamazoo Michigan as FedEx and UPS 53-foot trailer rigs pulled out of the facility and made their priority journey to a local airport, accompanied by armed U.S. marshals. The vaccine shipments were then flown to either the FedEx air hub in Memphis or the UPS Worldport air hub in Louisville Kentucky for nationwide fanout. From there, individual shipments are being routed to 636 pre-planned destinations across the country. Each shipment contains GPS and temperature monitors to insure security for the entire journey.
A lot of supply chain, logistics and transportation related professionals across the globe can take pride that their efforts will certainly matter over the coming weeks and hopefully, short months in bringing an end of this pandemic, and the human tragedies that it has brought.
What is undoubtedly the largest global and domestic logistics effort undertaken in modern time will likely have some glitches or setbacks along the way, but global supply chain professionals will respond in their best efforts and ingenuity. For this demand and supply network effort has the highest visibility and dependency of many others.
The sooner this effort is accomplished the better the global community can get back to some semblance of a new normal and economic growth.
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