It’s A Bird … It’s A Plane! … It’s The Covid Vaccine?
Drone delivery service Zipline, which is based in San Francisco, will begin transporting the vaccine in April in all of the markets where it currently operates.
Medical Drone Startup To Begin Covid Vaccine Delivery In April
Zipline Inc., a drone delivery service that specializes in medical supplies, announced Thursday that it plans to begin transporting COVID-19 vaccines in April. The South San Francisco-based startup said in a release that it is partnering with “a leading manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines” in all of the markets where its drones currently operate. Zipline has been delivering medicine and supplies to rural clinics in Rwanda and Ghana since 2016 and, last year, began delivering personal protective equipment to hospitals and clinics in North Carolina. It plans to add operations in Nigeria later this year. Zipline declined to specify its vaccine partner but said it has built a system that can deliver ultra-low temperature medical supplies, including “all leading COVID-19 vaccines.” (Boudway, 2/4)
In other news about vaccine distribution —
Artificial Intelligence Could Help ‘Fine-Tune’ Vaccine Priority Lists, Predict Mortality, Study Reports
Much of the debate around vaccine prioritization hinges on one question: Who faces the greatest risk of dying if they become infected with COVID-19? Thus far, it is a question without a definitive answer. Age is one way to gauge risk, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that people aged 75 and older be among the first members of the general public to have access to the vaccine. But in the next phase of distribution, as the CDC tries to factor in underlying medical conditions, the calculation becomes much more complex. Artificial intelligence, when applied to standard patient medical records, can help untangle that web, a new study by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard researchers found. (Moore, 2/4)
Black Americans May Have To Travel Farther To Get A COVID-19 Vaccination, Pitt Researchers Find
As states prepare COVID-19 inoculations for a wider swath of the population, researchers who have been mapping potential vaccine distribution sites found that, in dozens of counties across the country, Black residents are more likely than white residents to live farther away from a site. Long drives to vaccination sites may keep people from getting the vaccine, and could widen the already-significant health disparities between Black and white Americans, wrote the researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh and the West Health Policy Center. Researchers hope health departments around the country will use the mapping project to pinpoint under-served areas of their communities and open more convenient facilities like mobile clinics or mass vaccination sites at gyms and stadiums. Many counties, including in the Philadelphia region, have already begun to open such sites. (Whelan, 2/4)
California's Vaccine Distribution Woes Reflect A State Long Troubled By Wealth And Class Divides
At any given time, Fresno County resident Angélica Salceda has at least four websites open on her phone in hopes that one of them might tell her when it’s time for her parents to be vaccinated. Every day, she checks the health department websites for Fresno County and neighboring Madera County, where her parents live, as well as their medical provider’s page and the state’s newly launched My Turn portal. (Lozano, 2/5)
Journalists Explore Inefficiency And Inequities Of Vaccine Rollout
KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber spoke about the covid-19 vaccine rollout for WAMU’s “1A” on Jan. 29. ... KHN social media manager Chaseedaw Giles discussed racial disparities in covid vaccine distribution with NBC LX News on Feb. 3. ... KHN senior correspondent Sarah Jane Tribble discussed why President Joe Biden’s use of the Defense Production Act might not get more vaccines to market faster with NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” on Jan. 30. (2/5)
The State Of Vaccine Supply: ‘Opaque.’ Unpredictable. ‘Hard To Pin Down.’
Even as the pace of vaccination against covid-19 has steadily accelerated — hitting an average of 1.3 million doses a day in the last days of January — the frustration felt by many of those unable to secure an appointment hasn’t waned. Why, they wonder, can’t I get one if 100 million shots will soon be administered? (Appleby, 2/5)