Does a country's health care system impact its COVID-19 vaccine distribution? Perhaps, but it may not be the most important component.
Getting needles into arms is the critical last lap in the race to beat COVID-19. Developed countries with the technology and infrastructure to accelerate vaccine production take a strong lead at the start, but some have lost ground during distribution.
Clear and consistent messaging and reliable communications are keys to achieving public health.
Richa Sahay, community curator, Future of Mobility, World Economic Forum, asserts that countries that have universal health care (UHC) systems and digital infrastructure at the national level show the highest national vaccination rates. Click To Tweet On the other hand, countries with privatized systems that vary region by region, or provider by provider, may experience inconsistent communication and inefficient platforms for information, which can lead to vaccine waste.
Take a look at Israel: An article in the New England Journal of Medicine tied that nation’s vaccine distribution success—nearly a third of the eligible population inoculated by mid-January 2021—to its universal insurance coverage and central, fully integrated digital system, which allows for data-based patient prioritization and real time communication.
Similarly, the National Health Service in the U.K. communicated and executed a UHC strategy to prioritize vaccinations for people 50 and older. At the end of April, the BBC reported that 98% of this group in Scotland, 95% in England, 92% in Wales and 89% in Northern Ireland had received their first shot.
“The prioritization will become more heterogeneous and complex as the general groups get in line,” Ms. Sahay told Forbes. “This increases the need for a central, databased prioritization strategy and will almost inevitably result in more complexity for logistics players who will face last-minute changes on demand and routing.”
Regardless of the type of health care system in place, clear and consistent messaging and reliable communications technologies are keys to achieving public health.