Article | 4 min read

How Zendesk is helping the vaccine distribution effort

Before 2020, the concept of organization was maybe not so thrilling, at least not universally. Like so many other things, the pandemic changed this.

By Kate Crane, Content Marketing Manager

Last updated March 23, 2021

After what felt like an eternity, we finally had the science – safe, effective vaccines – but the initial rollout of Pfizer and Moderna’s miracle jabs left a whole lot to be desired. As the current administration plays catchup, the stakes have gotten higher than ever.

Experts like Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown, warn that the so-called UK variant, B.1.1.7, will be dominant by the end of March. Everything’s leading up to a decisive moment then, says Bob Wachter chair of the UCSF department of medicine, “when we see if we won or lost the race vs. the variants.” Wachter, a beacon of actionable pandemic information, goes on to say that the competing forces and trends are as dramatic as a thriller “but very decidedly — and tragically — definitely as real as it gets.”

That’s why, for so many people, the idea of an organized, efficient way to distribute vaccines holds as much thrill as — well, seeing a thriller in an actual movie theater. And, maybe, the promise of being able to safely gather and enjoy our lives again, at dinner or the movies or in a room with an elderly relative.

So it’s no surprise — and a great relief — that vaccine management solutions are hitting the market. Zendesk is very pleased to be one of them.

“It took us only five business days to spin up a complete pre-registration journey for vaccine recipients in Calvert County with Zendesk. Since launching, we’ve been able to register over 22,100 constituents, ensuring the State Health Department receives all the information they need to help protect our community and keep vaccine distribution running smoothly”
Ruthie Buckler, Project Management Specialist at Calvert County, which uses the software

In conjunction with TCS, we set out to offer the Zendesk Vaccine Management Solution, something with quick time to value—so that a pharmacy, clinic, government or other provider can deploy a complete vaccine management solution in weeks. Providers leverage our cloud-based solution to provide a personalized and secure experience throughout the vaccine journey, including pre-vaccination, vaccine administration, and post-vaccination.

Key takeaways

  • 6 weeks to implement – Organizations see quick time to value, deploying a complete vaccine management solution in weeks
  • End-to-end vaccination solution – Organizations can manage recipient and provider conversations in a unified platform
  • VAERS & IIS integrations – Organizations can integrate existing and new data sources to maintain reporting compliance

The challenges have been steep from day one. Once Pfizer and Moderna hit the scene, there was almost no time to be excited: Immediately, the prospect of getting them into the arms of, well, the globe, felt about as straightforward as climbing a glass skyscraper with one hand.

Medical journal The Lancet identifies three key things that need to be in place for vaccines to be distributed:

  • vaccine supply, which includes cold storage, needles, and syringes
  • people to give them, both the staff in charge of injections and those in charge of documentation
  • and people to be vaccinated

WBUR asked Massachusetts residents to share experiences around getting the vaccine: People emailed in to report issues such as a confusing sign-up system and a lack of appointments. In other states, people have been frustrated by flawed rules; the Atlantic points to “redundancies at every level, from innovation to distribution, and severe misallocation.” The result, it says: The coming months could see, for instance, vaccines going to healthy 20-year-olds in North Dakota before much older, chronically ill people in places such as Vietnam.

“Zendesk’s Support platform gives us the agility to adjust our pre-registration journey for vaccine recipients, which is crucial as we see ongoing changes”
Ruthie Buckler, Project Management Specialist at Calvert County, which uses the software

One Georgia resident lamented that too many people were getting vaccinated as caregivers when their role was meal drop-offs to elderly relatives, while frontline workers, and those with disabilities or immune issues, and prison populations, continue to wait.

And that’s why a whole industry is rapidly evolving around enterprise software for vaccine distribution. A Zdnet roundup of solutions discusses different ways to approach and perceive vaccine management. Is it part of a return to the workplace, something that HR and IT managers would be leading? Is it primarily a workflow tool? Does a solution work with an existing platform or require customization and consultants?

“Zendesk Support makes pre-registering for vaccines incredibly easy for our constituents”
Ruthie Buckler, Project Management Specialist at Calvert County, which uses the software

The Zendesk Vaccine Management Solution prioritizes agility, drawing on some of the core Zendesk strengths:

  • Empowering agents to deliver excellent, fast, personalized service
  • Meet compliance requirements while scaling
  • And simplify the vaccine journey

UCSF’s Bob Wachter is optimistic. With the right vaccine supply, enough people vaccinated, and – crucially – an effective distribution system, ‘we should be able to tamp down a surge from the UK (or similar) variant.’ And, in maybe the most hopeful thing we’ve read in a year, James Hamblin of the Atlantic says that a Covid-vaccinated summer 2021 could be… wonderful.

Learn more about the Zendesk Vaccine Management Solution here.