Over the past decade, the international focus on investing in research to control and eliminate the spread of diseases has significantly increased. As vaccines continue to develop, it’s vital to simultaneously seek optimal storage solutions to avoid wastage. The sensitive nature of vaccines requires them to be stored in particular temperatures over a certain period of time. While generating effective treatments takes a step forward in addressing global health concerns, delivering the products in and to appropriate environments suggests its efficiency.

Vaccine wastage not only effects the financial investment used to produce treatments, but also its critical demand. A vaccine can represent the life or death of a person living in an impoverished state. The GAVI Alliance suggests that we will be spending more than two billion dollars per year on new vaccines, so it is vital to invest efforts in improving transportation means. Countries that benefit from the GAVI Alliance specifically require the government to remain responsible for a portion of vaccine transportation. Furthermore, many vaccine supply chains within these countries do not have the appropriate management or resources to keep reliable records of the supply chain. In order to track vaccines, the organization offers developing technology-driven tools – such as 2D or RFID tags.

As Seth Berkley, GAVI’s CEO, prepares to address vaccine tracking and tracing  at the TED conference this week, he poses the topic to the public as a TED Challenge. Vaccines are precious commodities. They are products of a network of organizations as well as the symbol of hope for many individuals. As we continue developing our efforts to increase vaccine development, it is important to keep the means of storage and transportation in mind. What are some innovative tools to help track vaccines? Are there ways to improve resources that we are using today in order to continue tracking and tracing techniques?

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Photo by Esther Havens