Logistics Operators world wide fortify before COVID-19 vaccine launch with ‘Freezer farms’ and Jets.

By Harsha Prakash Mazumdar

31st August, 2020

Image: Freezer Farms (Source: DW.com)

Covid-19 vaccines have been under trial for weeks and as drugmakers race to create supply chains for their coronavirus vaccine candidates, they are also finding manufacturing sites and ordering specialised production tools. Some trials have begun to advance to the final-stage, and supply operators have begun preparing for the safe and secure transportation and fast delivery of the potential coronavirus vaccines round the world. They're building large cold- storage facilities referred to as “freezer farms” and lining up the mandatory equipment and transportation availability.

The shipping method of the medicine safely from far- flung producing sites to medical groups via warehouses, shipment terminals, airports and final storage points in a matter of days is going to be a high- wire act. With risks at each stage such as the breakdown of refrigeration instrumentality, broken packaging, among others, may render thousands of doses useless. Shipping firms say that they need to be ready to ship the maximum amount as doable whilst looking forward to the vaccine manufacturers and government for the data and pointers relating to the amount of packaging, while also arranging for adequate distribution.

Reports suggest that drugmakers with vaccines within the final-stage of clinical trials expect their product to need strict temperature controls. Numerous firms have shared details relating to the predictability and varying of temperature requirements for the storage of their vaccines with the distribution operators. The operators are increasing their refrigeration and freezing capabilities as per the expectations.

As they're aiming to be able to send out as many doses or the vaccine at once as possible they're also looking to utilising airfreight networks. However this can prove to be risky and far fetched since many thousand flights have been grounded due to the outbreaks. Delivery giants like UPS and also the freight arm of Deutsche Lufthansa have lined up deep freezer and electric refrigeration units and sped up the development of pharmaceutical storage capacities in airports greatly. DHL international Forwarding is evaluating plans to move the vaccines through accelerated ocean shipping, beside air shipping to avoid potential capability constraints.

With the initial launch of distribution, the provision operators can understand the situation better, and tailor their methods to match it, since the vaccines would need to be regularly delivered over time and new challenges can arise like uncontrolled spread of the virus, and new international travel rules.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY.

Edited by Sagarika Satapathy.

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