With COVID-19 still raging and the arrival of new strains that are 70% more transmissible, we have no time to waste. We need a "just-in-time" approach to deploy vaccines the minute they enter our state.
No COVID vaccine should ever be put into storage. We need an efficient system to unload vaccines and move immediately to injections.
"Operation vaccination" should be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Now is the time for a public/private coalition to develop the best vaccine distribution approach for Minnesota. We need to get the finest minds into action to support our overworked health care and government staff. We are in a public health crisis, but if we can minimize the time from delivery to vaccination, we can save many lives.
And then we can share our solution with other states and nations to help meet this challenge globally.
With legions of world-class process and supply-chain experts leading our rich base of Fortune 50, 100 and 500 Minnesota-based companies, this is a call to action for local CEOs to bring forth their best leaders to form a coalition to develop this solution.
We are in a race against the clock. Is there any doubt that CEOs and business experts across Minnesota would stand in line to help? Has anyone asked them?
Getting vaccines deployed quickly is our ticket to get businesses back to operating more normally, for all of us to get our lives back, for seniors to enjoy visitors and for students to return to the classroom. Everyone needs this vaccine deployment system to operate seamlessly. We must not lose any more time.
A 22-year-old on the East Coast recently joined forces with his engineering- and process-expert friends to design an approach to the vaccination process. It is an open-sourced solution, and they are encouraging everyone across the nation to tap into the work already done. Our teams can start there.
We could also model the Annual National Undergraduate Supply Chain Case Competition in which University of Minnesota students compete. Many business professionals from our leading companies are also part of this outstanding partnership between students and business. Student teams are given 24 hours to solve a supply chain business problem and present to a panel of business professionals who provide feedback and coaching.
We could take a similar approach to designing a vaccine solution — provide all the facts and have a team of the best-of the-best work around the clock on the solution, then present it to a broader group that can help improve and finalize the plan.
If we need citizen volunteers to help deploy 24/7 Operation Vaccination, that volunteer process can be part of the solution design. There are countless Minnesotans ready to volunteer, whether in directing traffic, feeding our medical teams or whatever might be needed.
Come on, innovative Minnesotans — let's do what we do best: Think outside of the box. We shouldn't waste another moment.
Janell Siegfried, of Golden Valley, is a business consultant.