Written by Remote Medical International CEO, Wayne Wager.
The entire world entered uncharted territory in 2020 because of COVID-19. For many people, 2020 was the most challenging year of their professional lives due to the stress the virus put on companies, workforces, and families.
In 2021, we have a better understanding of COVID-19’s impact on our communities, families, and businesses and the tools (available and emerging) to manage the virus. While there is uncertainty in specific aspects, we have gained insight into how we can minimize the virus’s threat to our client’s employees and keep them safe and healthy.
COVID-19 Screening and Testing
We anticipate a shift in the need for screening and testing with continued demand for both at least through 2021 as the global COVID-19 vaccination process is underway and more details emerge around length and overall immunity across the globe.
Screening and testing will still be important in 2021 as there are questions surrounding the duration of immunity after infection with COVID-19. For example, there are reports of individuals contracting COVID-19 twice.
- There is reluctance among people to be vaccinated.
- Further evidence is needed to understand how long people remain protected from COVID-19 after vaccination.
- As a result, achieving herd immunity among the global population will likely be a long-term goal.
Compounding the issue is delays in getting people vaccinated, leading to criticism and concern.
It Takes Time to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine Out to the World
The speed with which the vaccines have been developed and staged for distribution has been spectacular. However, it will take time to inoculate a large portion of the world’s population.
We already know the high priority populations will receive vaccinations first, such as front-line health care workers and at-risk patient populations.
However, Not All People Are in Easily Serviceable Urban Locations
We know that a global vaccination initiative of this size and scale will take time, likely through mid to late 2021. What we also know from our experience as remote medical service providers, that a tailored effort and different requirements are needed to reach remote people in the U.S and around the world.
- The US Government has organized the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program.
- This program will utilize 32,000 existing pharmacy locations in the US to deliver vaccines.
- How will people in remote locations in the US, far from a pharmacy receive the vaccine?
- In addition, how will people in other remote locations in the world receive the vaccine?
- Also, unique cold chain-shipping is required for the vaccines to initiate transport and storage of the doses at remote locations.
Remote Medical International (RMI) has experience providing influenza vaccinations globally. Most recently, in September we vaccinated 1,300 people in six days in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The current COVID-19 vaccines require specialized handling and storage conditions. RMI is working to identify solutions that will allow us to maintain these requirements so that we can provide doses to clients in industrial and remote environments.
Will Clients Be Able to Resume Activity?
The pandemic had a chilling effect on many businesses. RMI had many clients who had to postpone and even cancel long-standing projects.
With the combination of screening, testing, and vaccines, we are hoping to see a resurgence of our client’s business activity. Over the last year, we have helped an overwhelming number of companies maintain or restart their operations.
We intend to continue the effort to provide screening, testing, consulting, and case management services. We will explore ways to support client vaccination efforts on industrial projects when doses become available.
Companies Have Realized the Importance of Addressing Medical Risk
Another effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that companies have been reminded of the importance of addressing medical risk. The pandemic has provided clarity on the long-term continuity of operational needs.
These discoveries have resulted in companies requesting some of our legacy medical services unrelated to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 lessons learned will live on after the pandemic is over. We have shown that companies can maintain operational resilience when they work with a workplace health and safety partner to put proper protocols in place.
We look forward to continuing to share our thoughts on COVID-19 management and resiliency in 2021.
Chief Executive Officer