Friday, December 11, 2020

As Covid-19 At Last Looks Beatable How Do You Distribute Such Delicate Pharma Stock?

A Look at the Vaccine Cold Chain
Shipping News Feature

BELGIUM – WORLDWIDE – Much has been made of the special conditions required to ensure the efficacy of the vaccines against the Covid-19 virus which are now flooding from laboratories to a plethora of points around the world. The question for logisticians is of course simple. How the Devil do you ensure the pharmaceuticals are maintained at temperatures often far below freezing?

Based on current projections, up to 50 million Covid-19 vaccine doses will be distributed globally in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. Some vaccines in development must maintain a consistent temperature of approximately -70°C ±10°C (-94°F ±14°F) during storage and shipment to remain stable and viable, which presents the freight industry with a complex distribution problem globally.

Pharmaceutical and logistics companies as well as governmental agencies need to create an ultra-low temperature cold chain in order to keep vaccines below sub-zero temperatures. Currently, the existing refrigerated transport infrastructure and supply chains in place are simply not prepared to handle these types of shipments from producer, right through to vaccination point.

In this situation a back-up plan using coolants such as dry ice, made of recycled CO2, will be essential in the safe distribution of every single one of these doses. It sublimates without creating any waste or residue, making it the perfect refrigerating medium during the shipment of vaccines.

Dry ice has long been a product used widely within industry and the global economy. However, it has assumed increasing importance in humanity’s fight against Covid-19. Once the vaccine reaches local communities, it will be further divided up and sent to vaccination centres, public and mobile clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies.

One leader in the manufacturing of dry ice production and blasting equipment is Cold Jet which is now tasked with helping industry and governments to safely distribute those billions of vaccine doses around the world. Wim Eeckelaers, Cold Jet Managing Director, EMEA, commented:

“Dosing dry ice directly into temperature-controlled thermal shippers is the only way to maintain that temperature level during transit and storage. At all points in the vaccine transportation and distribution cold chain, dry ice is needed to maintain temperature. The impact of Covid-19 on global health and the global economy has been painful, but Cold Jet is extremely proud to play such a vital part in the distribution process of a vaccine,”

The World Health Organization cites inadequate cold chain capacity as a major issue to vaccine distribution in developing economies. In recent years, millions of doses of vaccines were lost due to cold chain failures. Cold Jet says its Dry Ice Production Hub helps solve this issue. Cold Jet’s dry ice production machines are capable of producing up to 1,600 pounds (750 kilograms) per hour and are engineered to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From the packaging lines at a multinational pharmaceutical company to distribution centres at global logistics companies and locally within hundreds of communities around the world, Cold Jet machines are producing dry ice at all points in the vaccine distribution cold chain. Dennis Hjort, the company’s Vice President – Global Dry Ice Manufacturing Systems, concluded:

“We want to guarantee that any person, no matter where they live in the world, is able to obtain a safe and viable vaccine.”

Photo: Courtesy Cold Jet.