With COVID-19 vaccinations beginning to roll out, Salesforce is teaming up with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help power its COVAX country engagement platform. Although the massive worldwide inoculation effort is only just beginning, Salesforce and Gavi hope that together they can help distribute two billion vaccines equitably to 190 countries by the end of 2021.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw a great opportunity to come and help with this," Dr. Ashwini Zenooz, chief medical officer at Salesforce, told Cheddar on Wednesday.

Gavi is a public-private partnership that has been working on global vaccine distribution efforts with top world health organizations since 2000, well before the need for a COVID-19 vaccine arose. 

While Salesforce is more commonly known as a cloud-based software provider, Zenooz says the company's core functions made it the "perfect partner" for this complex operation.

"At the core of Salesforce, we are a collaboration platform that brings different pieces of information and different groups together," Dr. Zenooz said. "There's no greater tool than having a command center at your disposal, at your fingertips."

Collaboration will be a key part of ensuring the distribution network thrives. Nations will use Salesforce's platform for a variety of purposes in their COVID response efforts, from reporting when and where more vaccine supply is needed to reminding patients when they need to get their second dose.

"We're in a war with the virus and you want to have agile technology at your fingertips that can show you those insights," Zenooz said. "We can show all of those things and segment that data out depending on who needs that data and who wants to use it."

While the U.S., UK, and Canada have prepaid for hundreds of millions of vaccine doses, poorer nations will likely have to wait much longer, but nearly all will be able to use the COVAX platform. Less wealthy countries will be able to use it to help plan the vaccine rollout, and richer countries will use it to keep track of financial information tied to the vaccines.

"This is a historic mobilization effort of vaccines, and this is not something that we can do in silos as a world," Zenooz said.

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