PLEASANT PRAIRIE, Wis. - The supply of COVID-19 vaccines is increasing in Wisconsin as more doses make their way to the state. But how does the vaccine get from the manufacturer to a location where patients get the shot?
Pharmaceutical distributors are moving the COVID-19 vaccine from manufacturers to vaccination sites at an extremely fast rate.
"It’s the unseen part of the supply chain," said Patrick Kelly, the Executive Vice President of Government Affairs for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance. "They’re coming in at the receiving end of the distribution facility and almost immediately being routed to their point of distribution at the shipping end."
Kelly said vaccines are getting married with syringes, gowns, and alcohol swabs -- and then are packed and moved at the direction of the federal government around the country. One of the distribution centers is in Pleasant Prairie.
"We’ve never done this before. We’ve never seen a national emergency response effort like this," Kelly said.
Kelly said on a large scale, distributing a vaccine with certain requirements -- like being stored in -80 degrees Celsius -- was difficult at first.
"When you’re talking about hundreds of millions of doses of product being shipped and having to be controlled in that temperature that added a significant complicating factor," Kelly said.
But Kelly said the process is getting easier. As more supply becomes available, there is hope to getting back to normal.
"It’s been a learning curve. We’re getting through it but we’re very happy that we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel here," Kelly said.