First prize for logistic innovation COVID-19 vaccination strategy

The jury was impressed by the submission titled ‘A fast and responsive supply chain’ by CWI (Rob van der Mei) and HvA (Dennis Moeke).

Publication date: 18-02-2021

The great effort in Europe and the rest of the world to vaccinate the population against the corona virus has begun, while the virus is still far from under control and the measures are still severely limiting our lives. In December 2020, the Top Sectors Logistics, LSH, ICT and Creative Industry presented the knowledge world with the challenge to think about how the goal of vaccinating 95% of the Dutch population can be achieved. The challenge was not intended to provide solutions to the current pandemic. The researchers were asked to look ahead and come up with creative ideas.

The assignment: design an integrated logistical and creative solution for a long-term planning for a pandemic vaccination program that can vaccinate quickly, carefully, responsibly and accurately, potentially 95% of the population in the Netherlands. In addition to a robust logistics model, information provision and appreciation, acceptance and accuracy of the operation are also of great importance, socially and economically.

The jury under presidency of TKI logistics, consisted of delegates of the Top Consortium Knowledge & Innovation (TKI) LSH, ICT and Creative Industry as well as ClickNL, Dutch Digital Delta, Health Holland and the Dutch Association of Innovative Medicines, assessed all submissions and took the following criteria into account:

  • Quality of the logistical concept
  • Social potential
  • Administrative set-up
  • Quantitative substantiation
  • Creativity and originality

The joint proposal of CWI, VU University Amsterdam, HAN University of Applied Sciences, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has been awarded with the first prize. Under supervision of Prof. Rob van der Mei and Dr. Dennis Moeke, a team of VU Business Analytics students contributed to this impressive achievement by developing a smart application to support capacity planning of the COVID-19 vaccination process. 

The team developed a model that calculates how long the different patient groups have to wait to be vaccinated. These waiting times depend on many variables, such as the availability of the vaccins, the number of nurses, political choices about the order in which patient groups are vaccinated, the maximal travel distance of patients, and the percentage of people who are willing to be vaccinated.

The model was implemented in a user-friendly dashboard that allows the policy makers to answer “what if”-questions about the consequences of policy decisions and the implications of changes in the availability of vaccins, the number of nurses, the vaccination strategy and the willingness to be vaccinated. By using this tool, the consequences of policy choices and changes in availability of vaccins and nursing personnel are made clear.

The jury wrote: “The jury was impressed by the integrality of the submission, with great attention for both the user registration process and the logistics process. The submission was accompanied by a working, algorithm-based universal simulation tool that provides insight into choices and consequences in a clear dashboard that can support policymakers and the population in decision-making and social acceptance. This tool provides a reusable model for different pandemics and strategies.”

News item in Dutch: Winnaars uitvraag logistiek corona vaccins