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Home » Supply Chain » COVID Vaccine Will Need Cold Storage. 3 Billion People Don’t Have Access To That

COVID Vaccine Will Need Cold Storage. 3 Billion People Don’t Have Access To That

PHOTO: Associated Press (AP)

PortandTerminal.com, October 19, 2020

Logistics experts warn that vast parts of the world lack the refrigeration to administer an effective vaccination program

In turns out that developing a safe vaccine to end the pandemic is only part of the problem. For a cure to work, you need to be able to get it to people. The logistics of distributing the vaccine are exceptionally challenging and many fear that the world is not yet ready.

8,000 Cargo Plans

First you are going to need cargo plans. A lot of them. Julian Sutch, head of Emirates SkyCargo’s pharmaceutical division, estimates that a single Boeing Co. 777 freighter can carry 1 million individual doses of a vaccine. That means airlifting double-dose regimens to protect half the world’s population would require the space in about 8,000 cargo planes.

“We’re not prepared,” Neel Jones Shah, global head of air carrier relationships at San Francisco-based freight forwarder Flexport, said during a webinar back in July with other logistics executives.

“Cold Chain” Capactity

A woman waiting in a clinic outside Burkina Faso's capital
A woman waiting in a clinic outside Burkina Faso’s capital. Poor people around the world who were among the hardest hit by the virus pandemic are also likely to be the last to recover from it. Photo: AP

Another capacity issue involves refrigeration. Health officials have said a vaccine that eventually comes to market will likely need to be maintained at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (35.6 to 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the shipping process. Some newer technologies could require more advanced freezers that can keep them at a frigid minus 80 degrees Celsius. Any deviation can ruin the shots.

The answer is something called the vaccine cold chain – a supply chain that can keep vaccines in tightly controlled temperatures from the moment they are made to the moment that they are administered to a person.

Associated Press (AP) is reporting today that an estimated 3 billion people on Earth do not have access to the cold storage a COVID-19 vaccine will almost certainly require.

“Despite enormous strides in equipping developing countries to maintain the vaccine “cold chain,” nearly 3 billion of the world’s 7.8 billion people live where temperature-controlled storage is insufficient for an immunization campaign to bring COVID-19 under control.” (AP)

With the pandemic now in its eighth month, logistics experts warn that vast parts of the world lack the refrigeration to administer an effective vaccination program. This includes most of Central Asia, much of India and southeast Asia, Latin America except for the largest countries, and all but a tiny corner of Africa.

Poor people around the world who were among the hardest hit by the virus pandemic are also likely to be the last to recover from it.

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