The changing landscape of 2020 has seen many new opportunities for the security guard industry, from changing retail procedures to new technology on the rise. But heading into 2021, there’s a new field rapidly developing, and firms looking for more growth should start keeping track. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations is slowly beginning across the country, and how organizations may be looking for security firms with specific skills to help. Here’s what to watch for.
More Transportation Opportunities
At the beginning, most vaccine organization and transportation efforts will be managed by federal agencies and similar top-level organizations. But there are many logistics decisions being made downstream as states, cities, and even specific buildings decide how to transport and distribute the vaccine.
We are already seeing a certain number of organizations, both private and public, considering the use of security guards for this type of transportation. After all, coronavirus vaccines share much in common with the transportation of other valuable supplies that many security firms already manage (plus the additional requirements of refrigerated transportation). We expect this to be a potential growth market throughout 2021.
Managing Storage and Supplies
Vaccine distribution also includes periods of downtime, where the vaccine is properly stored, but not ready to move on to the next checkpoint until sufficient preparations have been made. Organizations have to decide what to do with vaccine storage during these times, and many are likely to consider additional security.
Storage security can both help prevent any potential theft, and help organizations guarantee that they are managing vaccine rollout properly while avoiding any potential issues with loss, misplacement, or accidents.
Maintaining Order at Hospitals and Clinics
If medical organizations like hospitals and clinics feel like there may be unrest or the potential for violent confrontations and even riots, they will be looking for security firms to help manage the situation, keep problems from escalating, and maintain an orderly process of administering vaccinations.
With current vaccine shipments so limited, there are many unknowns about this the whole process will proceed. Will the local Walgreens start hiring security guards to prevent riots? It’s a little unlikely, but there’s certainly a possibility. Look more toward larger medical clinics that will be doing mass administration of the vaccine as quickly as possible: These are the organizations that are most likely to need assistance in keeping order and protecting the vaccine as it is provided.
Protecting Key Employees and Frontline Workers
We have already seen hospitals and clinics hiring more security to help protect their frontline workers as resources are tested by growing coronavirus cases. In 2021, look for this to slowly shift into a need to protect workers as they provide vaccines.
This will be especially important in areas that are setting up temporary “administration sites” for providing the vaccine, a common strategy when vaccines become more available. The problem with these administration sites is that they don’t usually have the built-in security and access control of more permanent clinics. If things get tense at a site, that can put workers at more risk. That means that cities and hospitals setting up these administration sites are going to be looking for reliable security services to help provide necessary protection. This may look different from city to city, depending on whether mobile clinics, community health centers, or schools are used.
Continuing to Enforce Social Distancing Regulations
As organizations transport and administer the vaccine, they also need to continue enforcing laws requiring masks, social distancing, and other considerations. That can be even more challenging with the added task of managing vaccines, especially if people don’t understand if they need to follow regulations any longer when the vaccine is already being administered.
This is a particularly great opportunity for security firms to arrange for new contracts with local hospitals or continue a previous partnership that was created during 2020.
On that note, it’s also important that your firm continues to train and prepare guards to follow all local regulations regarding COVID-19 until they officially end, including any PPE requirements and plans for social distancing. Medical organizations will want to work with security partners that are already accustomed to following the rules.
Dealing with the Unexpected
As we mentioned above, there are a lot of unknowns for the vaccine rollout. Gauging potential issues with public unrest or possible theft attempts is currently difficult. Demand for security personnel in your area could quickly change depending on what happens. Keep monitoring the situation and follow developments to learn how opportunities for your firm may evolve.
A Final Note
Interested in exploring security demand relating to vaccines? Don’t wait – start reaching out to local governments, medical centers, and other organizations. If you have previously worked for hospitals or have won government contracts in the past, leverage this experience to find continuing work throughout 2021. It’s a good idea to put a blurb on your website or any email marketing you have, mentioning that you understand the vaccine rollout may bring new security needs, and that your firm is glad to help play a role.