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The UK’s response to COVID-19 has been severely criticized. The UK is one of the countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. However, the vaccination campaign seems to have changed luck.

The UK is one of the world leaders when it comes to vaccine coverage. On December 8, 2020, it became the first country to begin giving its citizens a fully tested and tested COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, more than 18 million people in the UK have received the primary vaccine, and more than 600,000 have been given the secondary vaccine as well.

The UK government has promised to give all adults the vaccine before the end of July. This will be a tremendous achievement, less than eight months after vaccination has started. Initially, this deadline was late fall, which shows the success of the UK initiative so far. The faster release of the vaccine raises hope that the restrictions can be ended sooner. Naturally, the release so far has been called a rare pandemic success. Here is how this was accomplished.

Supply maintenance

The UK government’s end-of-July vaccination goal appears to be achievable, and by maintaining an average 2.9 million vaccination rate per week, the entire UK adult population can get both vaccinations by the end of September. To reach and maintain this rate, you need a consistent supply of vaccines, and the key is in the supply chain.

Vaccines have been launched around the world due to a shortage of supplies. A prime example is the dispute between the EU and AstraZeneca. The manufacturer has significantly reduced the vaccine supply, citing production issues.

The UK and EU have signed largely similar agreements with AstraZeneca, but UK negotiators have shown a better understanding of the supply chain. The UK contract contains AstraZeneca’s commitment that the UK supply chain is adequate and sufficient to supply the country’s purchased dose. If the supply chain is insufficient at any point, AstraZeneca will have to deal with the shortfall elsewhere in the global network. EU contracts do not contain equivalent provisions.

Early signing of contracts with suppliers was another positive factor for the UK’s vaccine procurement, as well as the willingness to invest. The UK has spent 11.7 billion buying, manufacturing and distributing vaccines for COVID-19 as well as vaccine research. Kate Bingham, former chairman of the UK’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, stressed that his purchasing strategy focuses on vaccines that are developing faster than costs.

The UK is now in a position to gain access to seven vaccine candidates and potentially have more doses than needed. You have already ordered enough vaccines to cover the current population. As additional vaccines are approved, the supply will increase.

Manufacturing capacity is also an object of long-term investment by the UK government. As a result, the manufacturing infrastructure was already in place in the early days of the pandemic and was able to expand rapidly, resulting in three vaccines being created in the UK, giving immediate access to supplies. By quickly starting manufacturing, the UK has the opportunity to fix production defects early. The EU instead had to address these issues recently, and supplies have been reduced.

The University of Oxford was already preparing a vaccine against Disease X, a name for a potential threat. Oxford University

Long-term research investments have also helped. The UK was, of course, at the forefront of the vaccine Oxford University developed with AstraZeneca and ordered more than the others. Oxford scientists were already working on vaccines that could be used against diseases like COVID-19. Immediate access to a large inventory of working vaccines depends on investment in research dating back several years.

Deployment plan

However, initial investment and wise procurement alone cannot explain the success of the UK vaccine launch. They are paired with an excellent distribution network. NHS’ centralized structure provided an ideal platform for planning and coordination. However, with a variety of localized delivery systems, the rollout worked.

There are over 1,500 vaccination sites in the UK alone. They range from small GP surgeries and community pharmacies to hospital hubs and sports centers, race courses and mass immunization centers established in show grounds. Larger vaccination hubs provide rapid vaccinations for many, but small community-based services ensure broad access.

This network of diverse vaccination sites makes deployment even more difficult. Supplies should be split between sites without unexpected depletion or wasted capacity in one location. Effective planning and inventory management are very important, and for this reason we ensure that experienced pharmaceutical distributors are available to ensure continuous supply.

Vaccination centers have been set up in other community hubs such as chapels and sports clubs to increase accessibility. Neil Hall / EPA-EFE

Indeed, this is part of a broader effort to unite the strengths of various organizations and individuals and use existing features to roll out as quickly as possible. For example, with industry experts, logistics planners and personnel were drafted to assist with deployment.

The COVID-19 vaccine launch is an unprecedented logistics effort. The UK is currently dealing with this problem better than many other countries, and you can learn from it. However, after the high burden of death, disease, repeated blockades and economic damage, the UK is under high pressure to maintain its pace of launch. The country is still in lockdown and hopes the limits to the success of the vaccination campaign will end.

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