Deloitte urges use of GS1 standards for COVID-19 vaccinations
New report urges rapid adoption of GS1 standards and barcode implementation to ensure safety and trust in COVID-19 vaccination around the world.
A Deloitte white paper highlights the “urgent need” for common standards across the healthcare supply chain as the world gears up for the largest vaccination campaign in history.
As governments and businesses around the world face one of the most significant logistical and healthcare related challenges in history, a new report issued by Deloitte points to universal adoption of common standards across the healthcare supply chain as an urgently needed solution to enable fast, efficient and safe distribution and administration of vaccines.
The Deloitte study, « Securing Trust in the Global COVID-19 Supply Chain », argues that, in addition to industry collaboration and transparent communication, “embracing GS1 standards adds an element of trust at all levels of the supply chain – a trust that ultimately extends to the patients themselves”.
GS1 standards bring transparency and help to reduce COVID vaccination risks
Barcodes produced to meet GS1 standards uniquely and securely identify products and medicines from development to point of administration. It brings transparency and helps to improve supply chain coordination.
In Belgium, GS1 standards are already used to uniquely identify medical devices and medicines, yet this is not the case everywhere. Using GS1 standards for the COVID-19 vaccines will decrease the risk of vaccine diversion, product expiration and fake vaccines proliferation.
An accurate identification and labels for each dose
The Deloitte study calls vaccine identification information (such as product identifier, lot number, and expiration date) “essential for healthcare providers to administer vaccines with confidence”, noting that, “the WHO recommends that all vaccines be identified with this data in a standardised barcode.” GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and UNICEF have also required the use of GS1 standards on the secondary packages of vaccines.
As some countries are experiencing tracking difficulties and challenges in linking vaccines to patients at the point of administration, the Deloitte report notes that “it is important to identify and label the vaccines capturing precisely which patient received which vaccine, and when.” Globally unique identification and GS1 barcoding can help with that critical task.
One of the biggest challenges the world now faces is the efficient distribution and registration of COVID-19 vaccines. Barcode scanning plays a crucial role in this. My colleagues and I are ready, where necessary, to explain the GS1 standards to the various stakeholders in order to make this a success together.
- Patrick Ponsaerts, Healthcare Sector Manager GS1 Belgilux