Perspectives

Securing trust in the global supply chain of COVID-19 vaccines

Moving from development success to vaccination

The critical success factors identified in 2020 remain paramount. But now stakeholders need to act on the lessons learned to strengthen the collective ability to respond to or—better yet—proactively address the existing global health issues.

The magnitude of suffering inflicted by COVID-19 is heartbreaking. Now, more than ever, leaders in the global health community must develop standards, processes, and capabilities that ensure citizens across the globe have access to lifesaving therapies. A secure and equitable supply chain is a factor in expanding access, which in turn builds trust. Most relationships depend on trust, and trust is built through actions that reflect both competence and the right intent, which in turn are the products of demonstrated capability, reliability, transparency and humanity.

This report is a reflection of the progress made on all the pre-requisites identified in our Securing trust in the global COVID-19 supply chain report, published in December 2020. We have learned more about the complexity of the four critical success factors for organizations and governments to secure public trust. There has been progress on all these fronts, although it has been uneven.

Securing trust in the global COVID-19 supply chain

  • Trust in the COVID-19 supply chain has grown and shifted since their release. Many no longer are questioning “will vaccines work?” and “when will they be available?” but are now concerned with ensuring all parts of the world are vaccinated to reduce risk of new variants. Yet, there is still an ongoing need to build trust in the vaccine supply chain so that citizens believe they are safe and efficacious.
  • Optimizing in-country administration of the vaccines has met hurdles as well, including the lack of cold chain storage, challenging management of expiry dates, disparate use of serialization to uniquely identify products, and unreliable infrastructure to navigate the last mile.
  • Communication campaigns have had varied impact. Significant investment by some governments, health care leaders and leaders of trusted nonprofits and non-governmental organizations successfully raised awareness and interest in the vaccines but fell short in addressing the root causes of vaccine hesitancy.

In this updated report, Deloitte, again in collaboration with GS1, a not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains global standards for business communication, explores each factor in three dimensions. How can the life sciences stakeholders address the way forward?

The release of numerous COVID-19 vaccines within a year of virus identification represents a significant achievement for manufacturers, governments, and health care professionals in a variety of roles. More importantly, it has benefited billions of citizens across the globe, and reduced the incidence of severe disease and death. Manufacturers and global health care organizations rose to the challenge, and trust in the COVID-19 supply chain has increased. That movement is a victory. Further, GS1 global product identification standards will continue to play a role in establishing trust in the global supply chain for innovative products such as new vaccines, enable a better overview of supply versus need, and optimize planning and availability of vaccines.

The COVID-19 pandemic will fade, but the need to deepen and broaden trust in medicine, health research, governments and NGOs remains. The momentum and insights gained over the past two years can be used to benefit citizens, countries, and for-profit and nonprofit organizations a like.

Please download our initial report from December 2020: Securing trust in the global COVID-19 supply chain

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