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Syringe and bottle with Covid-19 vaccine standing on dark blue data surface

Coronavirus vaccine acid test

The German Red Cross in Saxony is implementing a powerful vaccine management system with T-Systems.

Logo of German Red Cross (Deutsches Rotes Kreuz/DRK)

In Saxony, the regional government commissioned the DRK Saxony with the task of building an infrastructure for the vaccinations in the area and to organize the mass vaccinations responsibly. 13 vaccination centers were built for around four million residents. In addition to this were mobile vaccination teams that carried out vaccinations in care homes and organized temporary vaccination programs in communities. The entire vaccination process is limited when carried out through traditional media like over the phone. The national number (116 117) for example is not designed to deal with a high load - neither technically nor in terms of the capacity of the telephone agents able to take the calls.

The entire process can only be managed efficiently with digital solutions. These have to extend from making contact with those interested in vaccination to the registration and appointment-booking process, down to check-out and presenting the nationwide vaccine progress in a transparent way. In more detail, multiple contact channels needed to be integrated into the process, as well as an authorization check, appointment allocation, coordination with the available vaccination capacities (staff, locations, and vaccine), as well as check-in and check-out. This applies not only to stationary vaccination centers, but also to mobile vaccination teams, in a modified form. DRK Saxony needed a partner for the setup of a digital vaccine management system.

Customer benefits: seamless processes for the coordination of all participants

The vaccination management in Saxony passed the acid test with flying colors. Despite challenging circumstances, such as very dynamic system use and a very high level of pressure from changes and adaptations, people were guided through the vaccination process at all times in line with guidelines and in a secure manner. Those responsible were transparent about the status of vaccines and recipients at every stage. The vaccine recipients can rely 100% on arranged appointments. The vaccination management system has processed over a million vaccination procedures reliably by end of April 2021.

T-Systems supported DRK Saxony with the most varied services as an end-to-end provider. “The vaccine management system is an excellent example for processes that mainly take place in IT. And this also leads to new territory in politics: decisions also need to be made taking into account technical feasibility. As if the new guidelines are not technically possible, the vaccination process comes to a standstill,” Markus Naaf, Account Executive at T-Systems explains. The project partners illustrated the added value digital solutions could bring to challenges in the health and public sectors

Without comprehensive digital support, a vaccination campaign of this complexity would not be possible. T-Systems has made the almost impossible possible under very challenging circumstances.

Rüdiger Unger, Chairman of the German Red Cross, Saxony Regional Association

The challenge: mass coronavirus vaccinations in Saxony

In a very short time, DRK Saxony needed to set up vaccination centers and mobile vaccination teams - including the relevant support for the vaccination process. There were several factors in this that made setting up a vaccination management system particularly challenging. The T-Systems team had two weeks - at the turn of the year - to create the highly-complex digital connections by 1/11/2021. For this, it was necessary to involve different parties that worked directly on the process: the DRK vaccination centers, the mobile vaccination teams, and the vaccination administration center, including logistics. 

Powerful media had to be set up as input channels for those wanting to be vaccinated. This included a call center and a web portal that can also cope with a high volume of simultaneous traffic, so that as many people as possible can get a vaccination appointment. This also included precautions against different cyberattacks and fraud, like the automated synchronization with the official civil register. At the same time, strict data protection guidelines had to be followed for the processing of personal and health-related data. 

But setting up the vaccination management system by 1/11/2021 was far from the end of it. Highly-dynamic circumstances, such as frequently-changing political and medical decisions, bottlenecks with vaccine deliveries, and new guidelines for authorization or vaccine incompatibility, made the maintenance of the vaccination management system a complex task in a highly-changeable environment - both for the German Red Cross in Saxony and for T-Systems.

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The solution: comprehensive IT support in a very short time

For the vaccine management center, software called Civento was implemented that has been used effectively in the digitization of public administration for years. This forms the basis of the coronavirus vaccine management system (CVM). CVM is operated dynamically on a secure private cloud from T-Systems. Those interested in being vaccinated can access the CVM through a web portal or via the national hotline. As the national number (116 117) was not designed for the expected workload, T-Systems provided an additional toll-free number for Saxony through Deutsche Telekom. Those interested in being vaccinated can access a specific call center with over 300 trained agents via either number. These agents then lead the callers through the process and can print the necessary documents with the help of a connected printing service and send these by mail. But the web portal also required several “extras”: the dynamic operation with dynamic scaling also received a digital waiting area, as well as a web application firewall. This not only protects the site from attacks, but also picks up waiting users if the CVM is at full capacity.

Graphic representation of the vaccination management of the DRK Saxony

SAP is used for the vaccine, inventory, and planning systems. The vaccine administrator controls the logistics in this way. Furthermore, the interconnection of the CVM with the planning system enables an alignment to be carried out between the availability of the various vaccines, vaccine recipients, and appointments. The mobile vaccination teams are also connected to the inventory management system through a ServiceNow-based solution for scheduling. Through an app, the mobile teams are connected to the system and can therefore be flexibly scheduled in real time. This app can also be used offline. The frequently changing political guidelines and decisions had to be implemented promptly into the vaccination management system. Traditional Scrum methods with fortnightly Sprints were not sufficient for the amount of agility required. The development team from T-Systems set up their own procedures for hyper-agile working that could meet the needs of the continuous short-term changes.

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