Many elements could be slowing down Alabama's coronavirus vaccine shipments

Vaccine shipments have not been consistent to distribution sites in North Alabama, according to the CEO of Crestwood Medical Center.

Posted: Feb 2, 2021 7:46 PM
Updated: Feb 2, 2021 8:53 PM

Coronavirus vaccine shipments have not been consistent to distribution sites in North Alabama, according to the CEO of Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville.

We spoke with an expert on supply chain management to learn what is delaying vaccine shipments.

Vaccines must be stored in an ultra cold freezer.

Dr. Loyd from the University of Alabama in Huntsville said that the most basic supply chain systems can get messy very quickly and to get the COVID vaccine from production to your arm takes many steps.

"This one has a lot going on. It's a new product. It's being developed with new processes they're still learning about," said Dr. Loyd.

Dr. Nicholas Loyd is the Director for Management and Economic Research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

He says there are different components people might not think about that are slowing down the rollout of the vaccine.

"These mRNA vaccines have very specific storage requirements that are very, very cold, colder than winter in Antarctica, so the resources in both transportation and storage that can meet that requirement are limited," said Dr. Loyd.

That limitation dictates where the vaccines can go.

"Also the ability to reach some of the more rural areas, it can be difficult as well," said Dr. Loyd.

People should be patient, though, because the vaccines cannot be rushed.

"It's more important to get the safe vaccine that is high quality and does what it is designed to do verses rushing one," said Dr. Loyd.

And there are a lot of moving parts that must come together at the same time to distribute the vaccine.

"What is unique is that those things not only have to come together at the same time. They have to come together at the same time twice for one person to successfully be vaccinated," said Dr. Loyd.

Now, Dr. Loyd says it's hard to put a timeline down for when vaccine shipments will become more consistent because the supply chain process is so new for this vaccine.

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