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Significance of Location Intelligence in COVID-19 Vaccination Drives

Location intelligence (LI) is the methodology of driving insights for spatial decision-making. It can help discover new comprehensions on consumers, competitors, and potential customers. LI is known to solve issues in supply chain logistics and transportation. The changes brought by the pandemic include the rise in awareness towards Location Intelligence solutions and services. The question back then was when the world would get its vaccine, the question now is how it will reach the masses. Vaccine distribution requires consideration of several stakeholders including freight companies, warehousing, cold storage, and the manufacturers. Location is a factor that will play a big role, from the first to last-mile delivery, cold storage, which is all dependent on the distribution network from one place to another. 

Why is LI critical for vaccine distribution? 

  • Vaccine distribution requires a specific temperature to maintain its viability, therefore the use of trackers and IoTs are vital. It should also enable tracking of the product inventory within the warehouse and at the end location like hospitals and clinics. 
  • Secondary data like the weather forecast, traffic conditions, and satellite data could be integrated for better management and deliveries. 
  • The spread of the virus should be considered along with the availability of medical facilities. The distribution network must also keep in mind the population of the destination it is catering to and the various demographics of that area.

A judicious plan is required to manage distribution otherwise, hoarding at some places and shortages at other places may occur. All the various factors can be served by using Location Intelligence.

Vaccine distribution network also includes the delivery of necessary raw materials to drug manufacturing companies. Industries like supply chain and fleet management are set to be in a central role for distribution. For equitable distribution, cold storage facilities will have to function keeping in mind the current need for vaccines. There are many remote places in the world that cater to a bigger population, these places would not be accessible by airways, railways, or even roadways. But this does not make the need for vaccines any less. Cold storage facilities will have to come up at such places where commute will not be a trouble. Factors like size of the warehouse, labor availability, flood risks, weather and climate-related risks, fire hazards, ground conditions and pollution hazards, low carbon energy potential, and an environmental impact assessment will have to be taken into consideration. Site selection for cold storage expansion is a task, which can be countered by Location Intelligence tools. 

Importance of Sentiment Analysis for successful COVID-19 vaccination drives

The perception of people towards the COVID-19 vaccine will have a significant effect on successful vaccination drives. It would be better to set realistic expectations, as people are yet to believe in the merit of the vaccination. The majority of the population across the globe is still apprehensive of the after-effects of the vaccine. Sentiment analysis on tweets have shown that people are negatively biased towards the vaccine in certain geographies, and such sentiments are based on the delays and pauses of vaccine trials, safety, and the government’s role in vaccine availability. There have been temporal variations in the public sentiment of COVID-19 vaccines in the US and UK. However, in India, the case has been different. The majority of the population has been posting positive sentiments towards the two vaccines being offered in India, but there still is a small section that associated fear and danger with the vaccines. From the two offered vaccines, Covishield by Oxford-AstraZeneca has seen more support than Covaxin which is developed in India by Bharat Biotech.

Location Intelligence can help in narrowing down the areas where people are more skeptical towards the vaccine & thereby help the officials in strategizing on how to build trust in the citizens. Since the vaccine is prescribed in two doses, administering the second dose is just as crucial. Micro-level planning is required for recognizing the beneficiaries and ensuring their attendance on the day of vaccination. Another thing to be kept in mind is that the vaccine inoculation must be done keeping in mind the existing resources, as it should not be at the cost of regular or pre-existing immunization drive.

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