A model for the ordering and distribution of the influenza vaccine
Gurr, James Richard
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The system for the production and distribution of the United States supply of influenza vaccine has experienced disruptions during past influenza seasons. The identification of elements of the influenza vaccine is different each year and must be researched and identified each year prior to the influenza season. The manufacturing of the vaccine is a complicated process with many potential problems. This thesis identifies the requirements and constraints of the current manufacturing and distribution system including the annual demand and supply. This information is used to create an illustrative model based on operational research and operational management theory to develop a systematic approach to distribution of the influenza vaccine in a shortage situation. Two different policies are identified for use in a normal influenza season to determine how many companies are required to provide a sufficient amount of influenza vaccine with the understanding that some of the companies might have manufacturing difficulties. These two policies are the percentage distribution policy and the strict priority distribution policy. The model includes a determination of the number of companies that should be available for influenza vaccine production and the amount of vaccine that should be ordered from each company to minimize the total cost. The majority of the influenza seasons could be covered by purchasing fewer than 108 million doses, as in the percentage distribution policy, making sure that the vaccine dose orders are spread out evenly over four companies and distributed evenly by age group percentage, but could be reduced to as little as 24.5 million total vaccine doses if necessary with minimal cost and loss of life using a strict priority distribution policy.
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