This vaccine distribution solution seeks to simplify COVID-19 jab rollout in the Philippines

April 9, 2021 - 4:20 PM
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A worker performs a quality check in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech, developing an experimental coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, during a government-organized media tour in Beijing, China, September 24, 2020. (Reuters/Thomas Peter/File Photo)

A tech company developed a COVID-19 vaccine distribution solution to equip healthcare providers with tools to facilitate the rollout of the much-awaited vaccines against the novel coronavirus disease.

Called the Cisco Meraki Vaccine Distribution Solution, it is a suite of smart technology that seeks to proper handle the highly sensitive vaccines. It is part of the tech company’s digitalization acceleration program in the Philippines.

“The Cisco Meraki COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Solution is a suite of smart technology including temperature and humidity sensors, door open/close sensors, sensor cameras, wireless access points, and other networking devices,” Cisco said in a release.

This technology also addresses the following three challenges in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the country, according to the company:

  1. “Physical security for vaccine storage where logs are created to know who had access to the vaccines, as well as ensuring the physical integrity of the vaccines through temperature and humidity monitoring;
  2. Capability to set up mobile and remote vaccine distribution sites through the mobile-enabled ready-to-go solution for curbside, drive-through, or in-field vaccine deliveries;
  3. Management of traffic flow and safety to enable real-time face-mask detection, provide 24/7 indoor/outdoor video surveillance, assist with risk mitigation, and deliver immediate alerting.”

Karrie Ilagan, managing director of Cisco Philippines, expressed hope that this innovation can help simplify and facilitate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

“Vaccine distribution and handling can be a complex process, but with the right technology, the work can be simplified,” she said.

“Healthcare providers are looking to scale operations quickly, while using automation and AI to take the burden off human agents. Cisco’ cloud-based technology enables them to quickly scale existing operations and set up new distribution centers in record time,” she added.

This solution is part of UGNAYAN 2030, the country’s digitalization acceleration program that is “a collaboration framework with government leaders, industry, and academia.”

Cisco Philippines stated that it is in discussion with several local government units and organizations eligible to board the Cisco Meraki solution.

“The only way to tackle complex issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic is for the public and private sectors to partner closely. We all need to be pulling in the same direction to drive an inclusive recovery,” said Ilagan.

The national government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is still ongoing using China’s Sinovac and the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca.

However, on April 8, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health ordered a temporary suspension of AstraZeneca for persons under 60 years old.

READ: Philippines suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60

However, FDA Director General Eric Domingo stressed that this decision does not mean that the vaccine is unsafe or ineffective.

“I want to emphasize that this temporary suspension does not mean that the vaccine is unsafe or ineffective—it just means that we are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of every Filipino,” Domingo said.