Vaccines with a broad safety and effectiveness profile would constitute powerful tools in preventing cases of COVID-19 and ending the pandemic. The massive investments and global collaboration in research and development may result in a vaccine being available in the medium term. It is expected, however, that manufacturing, and scalability issues coupled with unprecedented demand will pose substantial hurdles to achieving immediate access to the vaccines for all who need them.
The World Health Organization predicts that if a judicious plan to manage vaccine distribution fairly is not executed, there will be hoarding in some places and life-threatening shortages in others. There will also be price spikes.
We believe Location Intelligence is the way to go about it! How?
In this article we use our location intelligence platform Khoj.ai to demonstrate what an effective distribution of the vaccine would look like in one of the most affected cities of India — Mumbai. As of October 16th, Mumbai has recorded over 15 lakh cases and upto 10,000 deaths. Using an array of data points, we’ve calculated several indices to help strategize the distribution.
Hospital Potential Score
The Hospital Potential Score is a number assigned to every hospital on a scale of 1–10 based on several data points including:
- Doctor count
- Bed count
- Population around the hospital
- Affluence around the area
This score can help us point out hospitals where the demand is expected to be high due to large number of doctors and general population and higher affluence in the area
Pharmacy Potential Score
The Pharmacy potential is scored on a scale of 0–10. It depends on the following data points:
- Affluence around the area.
- Hospitals and clinics around the area
A pharmacy with a greater potential score is expected to get a greater customer traction due to a higher demand of medicines around the are
Vulnerability score is a number allocated to every 100m by 100m square of land on a scale of 1–5. A higher vulnerability score indicates that the population in that area is highly susceptible to Covid-19.
We used data like-
- Virus spread
- Population density
- Availability of medical facilities
- Air Quality Index
to calculate the vulnerability scores of every 100m by 100m land of Mumbai. Places with higher population, greater disease spread and unavailability of medical facilities around their neighbourhood have been given a higher vulnerability score. By its very nature, this score can make it easy for companies to distribute the vaccines in areas with the greatest demand.
How can these indices be used for vaccine distribution ?
The vulnerability score coupled with hospital and pharmacy potential scores, the affluence and income class could help us predict the demand of the vaccine at a very granular level. Let’s look at a few examples of its application:
- In the following map, the pharmacy pointed out below is the only pharmacy in a highly vulnerable area(marked by red dots) of about 1.5 sq. km.
2. This hospital is situated in an affluent(marked by blue dots) neighbourhood with a high spread of the virus. Hence, the demand in this hospital would be high due to its affluent locality as well as high virus spread.
3. This cluster of hospitals with a high potential score is surrounded by a vulnerable area, hence the demand is expected to be high both for the hospital staff as well as the general population around the locality.
Thus, once safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines become available, the world will be confronted with the great challenge of ensuring equitable allocation among all. Taking these factors into account, Location Intelligence and AI could help us in an effective distribution of the vaccine. With this approach we will be able to:
- Point out the most vulnerable communities and reduce mortality rates.
- Supply vaccines to doctors efficiently and thus protect the healthcare system.
- Predict demand for vaccines and use that information to supply the same to select pharmacies and hospitals.
Location Intelligence could prove to be the cornerstone of an extremely efficient strategy that the major suppliers/distributors should be equipped with before it’s arrival.