Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is a race against time as several variants spread throughout the world. Given the urgency, efficient and effective vaccination procedures, including proper waste disposal, are critical.
Founded in 1989 in response to the rash of improperly disposed needles and other sharps washing up on beaches, Stericycle has always strived to offer clear, reliable, and sustainable waste management solutions that safeguard people and the environment. In fact, last year alone we treated over 1 billion pounds of medical waste, adhering to regulations and industry best practices to mitigate the risk of dangerous materials entering the environment. In addition, we diverted 104 million pounds of plastic away from landfills through the use of our reusable sharps and pharmaceutical containers.
With COVID-19, we’re now facing a different type of syringe tide due to the sheer number of people that need to be vaccinated and the fact that, in most cases, it is a two-shot vaccine. We once again stand ready to facilitate safe and secure waste disposal, providing both reusable and mail-back sharps containers.
To create, activate, and sustain a comprehensive program to handle the steep rise in sharps and other medical waste volume, we assembled a cross-functional task force of experts who have collectively spent countless hours preparing us for this challenge. In North America, the team built a granular, state-level forecasting model to better understand vaccine rollout plans and timing and to test various scenarios across distribution channels to inform preparation efforts.
Based on this information, we expanded our inventory of reusable and disposable containers and mailback kits to meet potential demand. In the U.S., we modernized our fulfillment center and added extra shifts, allowing us to scale production of mailback kits by over 200%. We also purchased additional reusable containers, increasing our available inventory for hospitals. Using modeling data, we strategically placed containers across the country based on projected vaccine rates. And we responded to the unique needs of our customers by offering tailored solutions for different channels, sites of care, and immunization volumes.
In addition to ensuring vaccination waste is disposed of properly, we are also helping hospitals and health systems communicate with patients about the vaccine and streamline scheduling and customer service functions. Through our various patient engagement solutions, we share public health information with patients, caregivers, and staff to help them understand what to expect with vaccination. Key programs include:
Whether it’s expediting vaccination waste disposal, providing patient education, or scheduling patients to receive vaccines, we at Stericycle are committed to helping healthcare organizations across communities ensure a smooth and successful vaccination effort. Learn more about how our services can support your organization.