RFID is Strengthening the Supply Chain in a Time of Need August 20th, 2021
RFID plays a huge part in adding to the supply chain, from every point of its lifecycle. In the most current times, there is a very important parcel traveling to and from hospitals and healthcare centers, and that’s the hope that is brought along with the COVID-19 vaccine itself, but also the vials in their specific refrigerated containers. These vaccine vials are thermos-sensitive and must be stored at their appropriate temperature, so to not spoil before they are injected into someone’s arm. As nations’ government organizations begin to unfold the COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, they must first consider how to implement cold chain management to ensure that the vaccine is transported effectively and safely to its destination. Clinicians must administer the vaccines as efficiently as possible while managing multiple problems that come down the line such as, counterfeit products, expired vaccines, dilution errors, and temperature violations
Cold chain management is defined as the maintenance of the required refrigeration levels for the highly temperature-sensitive coronavirus vaccines, as they make their way through the manufacturing, storage, transportation, and distribution processes. Throughout this lifecycle, there are many different parties involved, and with that, a level of cooperation and coordination is required to efficiently get the job done. RFID is able to monitor the handling and flow of these important parcels to ensure they are cared for and distributed in a correct manner.
Before the vaccines reach a facility, providers could assist the process by deploying RFID tags with sensors that work to ensure that the critically important supplies are kept and stored at the right temperature, so no sample is a wasted vial. These sensor-oriented tags are embedded into the fibers of the vial’s printed labels, collecting the essential data points necessary. Such RFID-based solutions are predicted to automate data collection regarding the administration of vaccines, while also monitoring the required temperature of a given vaccine, along with its authenticity, the expiration date, and whether or not it’s been diluted enough to be deemed alright to deliver to a willing patient.
Once the vaccine containers reach their destination point and are ready to be injected, the vial will be removed from the box and its tag ID will be scanned so that its details can be collected, along with its liquid and temperature levels. Many RFID tags will update the user and the manufacturer once the proper steps have been taken to ensure that the shot is ready to be given to a patient. RFID in a vaccine’s supply chain is expected to not only move vaccines along the way for administration but to also aid those using products provided by multiple different vendors, to keep them organized essentially. These track and trace functionalities will help to ensure a positive experience for those who receive the vaccine, while also providing some peace of mind for the healthcare professionals in charge of administering the care.
Samantha is BlueStar's Digital Media Specialist, and the primary contributing writer for VartechNation.
Previously, she has worked as a Public Relations Associate and a Social Media Manager.