With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout under way, communities are counting on government agencies and healthcare organizations to adapt quickly to meet their needs. Cisco Meraki is here to help—ready to deploy unique solutions to support public and private organizations as they move quickly to scale vaccination efforts.
Additionally, the U.S. federal government passed the latest “Coronavirus Stimulus 2.0” bill. This funding, which is an attachment to the larger 5,000+ page Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, will provide close to $900 billion to state and local governments, educational institutions, and healthcare providers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We spoke with Troy Yoder, Cisco Global Public Healthcare Leader, and Janell Tennyson, Cisco U.S. Public Funding Advisor, on the current state of this initiative.
What is the current state of Cisco Meraki’s involvement in the COVID-19 vaccine effort?
The scale of this response is truly impressive across the entire care continuum for healthcare providers. In fact, we are seeing the effort expand to retail, healthcare, and government organizations, with a focus on connectivity, security, and visibility. Setting up a temporary vaccine site in exterior spaces like parking lots or convention centers means implementation needs to be streamlined.
For many drive-through, temporary, and pop-up vaccination sites, data connectivity is critical. Vaccine databases, electronic health records, and other critical information needs to be accessed by staff in real time—securely and reliably. Additionally, surveillance is vital in these spaces to monitor access and ensure proper vaccine storage and Meraki’s technology is key to meeting those demands seamlessly.
How is Cisco Meraki leading on the mobilization of partnerships between public and private organizations?
As vaccine distribution scales out, Cisco Meraki is working closely with our partners and customers. In the past weeks we’ve seen rapid efforts from both private and public organizations, from supporting pharmacy chains with physical security to the rollout of testing sites in the parking lots of hospitals, schools, and local communities. It’s been extraordinary to be a part of these efforts. Given that there’s no playbook for this, we continue to learn as much as we can in order to deliver solutions that scale visibility, security, and connectivity to support vaccine administration.
What role does technology play in the vaccine rollout, both in terms of execution and maintaining safety?
Cisco helps power an inclusive recovery by driving efficient vaccine administration through technology and expertise. Since the vaccine rollout began, Meraki has been working with partners and customers to operationalize mobile and pop-up vaccination sites through solutions that monitor loss prevention, support physical distancing guidelines, and provide a cloud-based network for virtual patient engagement.
In terms of the vaccine rollout funding provisions in the recent new stimulus bill (Cares Act 2.0):
What are the specific industries that can apply for this federal funding?
$8.75B was granted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with a minimum of $4.5B extended to states. The two funds (vaccine & contract tracing) were sent as supplementals to existing state awardees (i.e. in addition to regular, nonstimulus funding) under the CDC’s Immunizations and Vaccines for Children cooperative agreement (vaccine distribution $) and the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement (contact tracing $). States may choose to “pass along” some of this funding to the local level or keep it for state activities. Whichever organization has control of public health at the state level is likely the same group controlling this new money. Some states have one umbrella Department of Health while others may have separate departments.
What can be purchased with this funding?
These funds can be used for activities to plan, prepare for, promote, distribute, administer, and track COVID-19 vaccines.
When do these funds expire?
Where can I learn more?
To learn more about Meraki’s solutions that support vaccine administration and how we enable healthcare providers and government agencies to support their communities, visit our website or contact us today.