Look At Your Business Beyond The Vaccines
Written By CMG News Contributor, Doug Carleton
Two weeks ago, there was one vaccine; now there are two – both effective in the 95% range in the early trials. It appears that two more are right behind them now in clinical trials. Science has performed a miracle. Vaccines normally take years to develop and in eight months we have two and possibly three or four that will become available. But there is the other non-science everyday miracle - logistics - that has to swing into operation before that needle gets to your arm. Here are just a few things that must happen almost simultaneously:
The Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines have to be stored at very cold temperatures; in Pfizer’s case, at about 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. That is relatively the temperature on an average day in the South Pole. Can you imagine walking up to someone at an event and saying, “Did you know that the average temperature on a winter day at the South Pole is about 94 degrees below zero?” That person might look at you for a couple of seconds and then quickly walk away. The Moderna vaccine will have to be stored at a temperature below freezing but not as cold as 94 degrees below zero.
Right now, there is a scramble to find enough ultra-cold freezers as well as the massive delivery capacity to get the vaccines to where they are going. Millions of doses of the vaccine will have to be given to hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies among others where they will be injected twice over three weeks – a problem in and of itself. Medical suppliers will have to provide hospitals and all the other distribution sites with huge numbers of syringes, needles, and other supplies to get the vaccine administered.
It will take extensive collaboration among a network of companies plus federal, state, and on-the-ground health workers. Health workers will need the training to administer and store the vaccine and then to ensure that people return for the second dose. Also, there will have to be training to make sure that electronic records can send information across state lines and to the federal government. As of this writing, many states are not even ready or able to react fast enough to get set up because of the cost involved and no one is getting any help from Washington as to who’s going to get supplies, how much, or who gets the vaccine first - just to name a few examples. A quote by Stephen Ostroff, a CDC veteran and former acting physician general in Pennsylvania sums it up neatly. He said, “It’s not like you can just stand up a vaccination clinic and start putting needles in people’s arms.”
So back into the world of your small business, the economy is beginning to show signs of slowing down again. A sure sign is that once again, toilet paper is disappearing from the shelves (%##***????). More cities and states are beginning to reimpose some form of lockdowns or restrictions, meaning possibly less economic activity. And given that just about every projection is that Thanksgiving and Christmas could dramatically increase infection rates, which are already rising at alarming rates, people may be even more likely to stay home. And on top of that, a large portion of the population says that they will not take the vaccine until it has proven itself to be effective. So you can’t let down your guard for a second. Everything you can do to sustain your cash flow looking out at least six months will be critical to your still being there when the pandemic begins to ease as more people get vaccinated. Also, keep in mind, there is an enormous amount of cash being saved by consumers right now, and when things finally open up, you want to be there.
This blog entry is a slightly edited excerpt from Doug Carleton's 'The Daily Life Of A Small Business Owner' series. Doug was a mentor with SCORE, Startup Virginia, and Lighthouse Labs, and has 25+ years of experience in small business finance including 12 years in SBA lending. To contact Doug directly, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.