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A little more than a year ago, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. Since then, COVID-19 has dramatically impacted every person’s life across the globe. We are now experiencing how fragile and vulnerable our public health infrastructure is and the importance of fortifying public health processes and structures to manage today’s challenges more effectively as we prepare for tomorrow’s.

Microsoft’s pandemic response

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Microsoft has taken a “digital first responder” mentality, providing technology and services through the Microsoft Services Disaster Response (MSDR) program. MSDR has completed 71 projects in 2020 and 46 projects in 2021 (through February). These are COVID-19 relief efforts that have been requested by countries, states, regions, and not-for-profit organizations across the globe. Examples include the development and deployment of COVID-19 screening and triage bots, mobile apps for field workers, dashboards and analytics for public health agencies, and migrations to Azure to enable population health data management.

In addition to providing technologies and services through MSDR missions, Microsoft has worked in close collaboration with partners and customers to find ways that technology can help address broader issues such as:

  1. Testing and disease tracking.
  2. Research and development and manufacturing of diagnostics tests, treatments, and vaccines; supply-chain logistics and delivery.
  3. Efficient and equitable vaccinations.
  4. Return to work, school, and travel.

In the area of testing and disease tracking, the Africa CDC has partnered with Illumina, Oxford Nanopore, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Microsoft on a $100 million African Pathogen Genomics Initiative to boost disease tracking and emergency response capacity in Africa.

With respect to research and development, Adaptive Biotechnologies, in collaboration with Microsoft, has developed the T-Detect COVID test, which recently received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA to confirm recent or prior COVID-19 infection. This test may be particularly useful in the identification and management of COVID-19 long haulers.

Efficient delivery of vaccines has been optimized through a partnership between FedEx and Microsoft and the launch of FedEx Surround.

Microsoft Vaccination Management

Microsoft and its partners have also been actively working with customers to deploy vaccine management solutions that enable registration capabilities for patients and providers, phased scheduling for vaccinations, streamlined reporting, and management dashboarding with analytics and forecasting. Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has deployed over 230 emergency COVID-19 response missions globally since the pandemic began in March, including recent engagements to help ensure the equitable, secure, and efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Our offerings are helping public health agencies and healthcare providers to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals in an efficient, equitable, and safe manner. The National Covid Vaccination Registration Platform for the 45 million eligible citizens in the U.K. is built with an Azure web form and hosted on Azure. The Los Angeles Unified School District deployed several of our COVID emergency response solutions for a seamless, end-to-end, vaccination experience. As Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner explained, “We started working with Microsoft last summer to help bring students and staff back to schools in a safe and coordinated way and we planned ahead by integrating COVID-19 testing and vaccinations into the solution. Los Angeles Unified is the first school district and likely the largest employer in the nation to use a comprehensive technology solution like this.”

As we evolve our solutions and bring in key learning from previous vaccination implementations, today we are introducing Microsoft Vaccination Management, which enables governments and public health agencies, healthcare organizations, and vaccination sites—including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and mobile clinics—to set up and manage vaccination sites, inform the public, schedule vaccinations, automate mass vaccination sites, and monitor outcomes.

Built on Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Vaccination Management helps healthcare providers roll out vaccination programs reliably while scaling and adapting to meet their community’s needs as vaccination capacity and demand changes over time. Residents benefit from a clear, simple-to-use portal to book vaccination appointments and receive reminders and notifications. Frontline workers and care providers can manage all vaccination logistics, scheduling, check-in, and records access from a single app. Health administrators and leaders have a dashboard to track progress and key measures—insights to help streamline and optimize processes as conditions change. Customers can also set up Microsoft Vaccination Management to communicate to Immunization Information Systems for tracking vaccinations and adverse effects across populations.

Our commitment to global healthcare modernization

Alongside the healthcare industry, state and local governments, school districts, and others, Microsoft is innovating solutions to not only improve immediate vaccination efforts but to contribute to global healthcare modernization and impact for years to come.

Learn more about Microsoft’s response to COVID-19 on a global level and crisis response and recovery resources for state and local governments.

Learn more about Microsoft Vaccination Management, currently in preview for US customers.