As the first COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, an end to the health crisis is in sight. Despite recent delays, the EU intends to vaccinate 70% of its adult population by summer. Startups from across the world are contributing to vaccination efforts. From addressing distribution challenges to ensuring smooth workflows, innovative entrepreneurs play an important role behind the scenes in the vaccination landscape.
Here are the 5 ways startups are supporting the COVID-19 vaccination efforts:
Delivering vaccines to remote areas
Wingcopter, a drone technology startup based in Germany, is on a mission to deliver vaccines to millions of people living in hardly accessible places in African and Southeast Asian countries. The startup has recently raised €18 million in Series A funding and is working on a series of pilot projects to scale up its operations and build a type of unmanned aircraft capable of delivering vaccines, medical supplies and equipment. According to the founder, Tom Plümmer, the development of sustainable drone solutions has the potential to save lives around the world.
Enabling accessible vaccination appointments
Amid the reports of low vaccination rates in France, a medical booking and telehealth unicorn Doctolib has partnered with the country’s government to support the rollout by enabling an easier appointment scheduling process. Since mid-January, anyone eligible to receive the vaccine can use Doctolib’s platform to book an appointment at the nearest vaccination center. Doctolib has also signed a contract with the German authorities to support the vaccination campaign in Berlin.
Employing AI to screen patients’ eligibility
The California-based startup Notable Health has upgraded its intelligent automation platform to support vaccine administration workflows in healthcare organisations. The AI-powered solution uses machine vision to screen electronic health records and identify the patients eligible for the vaccine, and then asks them follow-up questions to determine their risk factors. Notable Health’s platform informs eligible patients on how to receive the vaccines and updates their medical records after vaccination takes place. AI solutions like Notable can speed up the vaccination process enormously by eliminating the need for manual work in the process.
Informing the public and raising awareness
When will I get the vaccine? Omni Calculator might have an answer you seek. The Polish startup developed Vaccine Queue Calculators that allow users to find out their estimated vaccination timeline by answering a few simple questions, such as age and other criteria set by the governments in their respective countries. Omni’s dedicated Coronavirus Calculators page also offers evidence-based answers to other questions ranging from correct mask use to determining a person’s eligibility for stimulus checks. The startup analyzes legal documents and research data and presents it in a user-friendly way.
Developing an operational backbone
Carbon Health, a fast-growing San Francisco-based healthtech startup, is at the forefront of Los Angeles’ vaccination drive. Carbon Health partnered with the city to provide an all-round vaccination management software. According to its CEO Eren Bali, it only takes 3 minutes for people to sign up for a vaccination appointment and receive allocation according to priority and eligibility. But the company’s impact doesn’t stop there: the startup also works alongside the essential workers to administer the vaccine. Carbon Health is now in talks with other cities and health care providers in the U.S about adopting its platform.
This list demonstrates startups’ abilities to adapt to address the emerging needs of society. Whether it’s drone technology, digital health or data science, innovative approaches to modern challenges are in a startups’ DNA. We advocate for an empowering regulatory environment in the EU and across the world so that entrepreneurs have everything they need to build and create cutting-edge innovation with the potential to change the world. Since the beginning of the health crisis, we have encouraged governments to support the startup ecosystem so that they could provide solutions to the pandemic and spark the economic recovery.