How can AI speed up the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply chain?

One of the most challenging tasks in the present time is vaccinating the global population against Covid-19 infection. While there has been considerable development in the manufacturing of vaccines, there is the mountainous task of managing the supply chain and logistics for the transport of vaccines and their supply to even the remotest corner.

What is required at present is a seamlessly working supply chain system. But we all know that the conventional supply chain system is not only overwhelming with paperwork, but it also has bottlenecks like difficulty in tracing and tracking the cargo. So, the next question that pops up is, what is the solution. Technological development in AI can be helpful in this. We will be highlighting how AI can speed up the vaccine supply chain. 

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Before we go ahead and explore how artificial intelligence technology is helping in managing the supply chain of the Covid-19 vaccine, we must know what some of the key problems which need to be addressed are:

1. Demand forecasting: To assess how much vaccine is required in a particular are

2. Contact the pharma companies manufacturing the vaccine and administering the   vaccine to the people, and keeping a record of the same.

3. Assessing the quality and standard of the vaccine, and the right dose is administered. 

4. Surveillance of the side effects of the vaccine 

Understanding how AI is going to be helpful in this. We know that Artificial Intelligence has been a revolution in the field of technology. Many tech experts believe that AI, along with Blockchain technology, can intervene in the supply chain system and make it more productive and free from any bottlenecks. 

Every cloud has a silver lining, and so has this pandemic taught us. It has made us realize the need for improvisation in our mode of working. Although technology is highly dynamic and it is changing phase, the fact of the matter is that there was a need for far more improvement. So the companies like IBM took up the charge and are using technologies like machine learning to expedite the vaccination programs. IBM is using machine learning to study the high-risk population, patient demographics, and vaccine availability. Companies are using AI tools for streamlining the supply chain process and expediting the transportation of vaccines. 

AI can reduce uncertainty 

One of the things that this pandemic has brought straight on our face is uncertainty. We are not claiming that AI can completely reduce this uncertainty, but what we know is that it can certainly help in reducing this. At the start of the pandemic, the data scientist leveraged the AI to build models to trace the spread of AI. Although the initial data was not sufficient to create a precise reading, with more feeding of the data, it became easier for the AI models to start detecting the spread more precisely. 

Now the same model is being used to administer the vaccine distribution. It reduces guesswork for site-based vaccine needs. As more and more data gets available, it will be useful in accurate forecasting. 

AI can help take charge of the repetitive human task

There are certain segments in vaccine distribution and administration like making an entry, patient scheduling, support business functions, and order management. This requires time, and in such adverse circumstances, we cannot afford delays and errors. Handing over the charge to AI-enabled modules will be helpful here. 

Additionally, AI-enabled chatbots can be useful in answering customer queries. In times of pandemic when fear surrounds us, addressing issues of people is paramount. These chatbots can prove useful here. Unlike humans, they work round the clock and don’t get tired. So, you get more efficient outputs every time. 

Determine who receives the vaccine 

An important aspect that AI needs to handle here is to check who has got the vaccine. Since there is no defined medicine for the cure of coronavirus, the only way to keep ourselves safe is by vaccination and enhancing the immunity of the body.

Determining the population that needs to be vaccinated first is important. AI can play an important role here. It optimizes the decision support system based on the study of the data available and comparing it with the demographics; it becomes easier for the AI-based models to ensure fair vaccinations and identify the population who are not informed about the vaccination process. 

Manage supply chain challenges 

It is important to address the supply chain issues like manufacturing of vaccines, its distribution and reach to the local medical centres. AI can help in keeping a tab on the seamless flow of this. With the help of mapping and visualization, we can forecast and also keep a check on the inventory. 

These are some of the ways AI can be a difference creator when it comes to speeding up the vaccination process.  With the intervention of the technology and its apt use, we can expect a seamless flow of business operations that will eventually benefit human life. 

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