Your default browser language is set to . Browse this site in another language: Continue color Created with Sketch.
  • Newsletter subscription (View Sample)
  • Used DHL Services before
ALSO WORTH READING

To win the race against Covid-19, enabling access to vaccinations is key

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to turn up in fresh waves globally, DHL has outlined 10 steps to prepare supply chains to support the quick rollout of vaccines.
11 June 2021 •

When the first Covid-19 vaccine was approved for use in late 2020, it marked a momentous achievement in science.

It was the result of an urgent and expedited development process that would have typically taken years. As scientists worldwide rallied together to develop next-generation vaccine technology, governments invested heavily in manufacturing infrastructure to shore up vaccine production capacities.

To date, more than 2.15 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. Yet, the war against the coronavirus is far from over.

The uneven distribution of vaccines, a decline in raw materials, and new, deadlier virus strains threaten to undo the good work.

Ten billion vaccine doses are required globally for high levels of immunization by the end of 2021, but only four countries have achieved vaccination rates of 50 percent so far, while those with less-developed infrastructure continue to face challenges in the rollout.

Another factor is the constantly evolving global supply chain landscape, according to Leonora Lim, Vice President at DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, Life Sciences and Healthcare.

“The information sphere is constantly evolving — whether it’s the kind of vaccines approved by each country, the volumes that they require or the ideal temperature and packaging required. This means we need to adapt quickly and efficiently to meet changing demands,” explained Lim.

The need for resilient supply chain networks, smart technology, and cross-border collaborations to help sustain the momentum has never been more crucial. In its latest white paper Revisiting Pandemic Resilience, DHL outlines 10 steps stakeholders need to put in place to support the great vaccine rollout and build a more resilient world.

Source: Revisiting Pandemic Resilience whitepaper
Source: Revisiting Pandemic Resilience whitepaper

1. Establishing partnerships without borders

While Asia was already in the cockpit of the supply race with millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) and test kits shipped out of China and South Korea, the delivery of vaccines has been a different ball game, shared Lim.

It is taking place on a different scale of distribution, and with strict temperature and handling requirements. Cross-sector and cross-border partnerships are necessary to address the urgent need for a viable medical supply chain for the vaccines, she noted.

Collaboration will help stakeholders align on the monitoring and delivery of vaccines and ancillary supplies. For instance, the signatories of the UNICEF and World Economic Forum charter on Covid-19 vaccine delivery have offered pro bono support in the form of specialist logistics personnel for global logistics coordination, and operational assistance for warehousing and cold-chain solutions at regional and national levels.

Partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry, governments, and logistics players can help consolidate expertise under one roof. This means uncovering innovative new treatments, streamlining delivery mechanisms, and even preparing for future pandemics.

2. Building a supportive data backbone

Data is king — even in vaccine distributions. Digitalizing the supply chain helps countries with timely decision-making, from early warning of pressure points to ensuring end-to-end supply chain transparency. For example, the DHL Express Quality Control Center looks out for shipment delays, identify areas that need improvements and take proactive action to address them.

“With data sharing protocols in place across different operating systems, supply chain stakeholders will be able to get a holistic real-time view of the supply chain, which will help resolve bottlenecks efficiently to minimize disruptions,” said Lim.

3. Staying on top of transportation capacity management

Managing transportation capacity can save time and prevent unnecessary bottlenecks that may delay deliveries and compromise vaccine quality.

With vaccine distribution a priority for many countries, securing the right transportation capacity at the right time is vital for the successful delivery of vaccines that may have varying requirements such as temperature control.

Tools such as the DHL Ice Tracker can track the quantity of dry ice that is going to be uplifted, ensuring that it does not exceed the stipulated limit for the safety of the aircraft and crew.

4. Putting the ‘green’ in packaging

Most approved vaccines have cold or ultra-cold storage temperatures that require special packaging systems, which can be expensive. Ensuring the reusability of packaging will reduce wastage and costs over the long term.

For instance, temperature-control packaging solutions provider Softbox developed a specialized reusable ultra-low temperature (ULT) shipper to support the distribution and storage of ultra-low temperature vaccines. The reusable box, built with high-performance insulation materials, can be topped up with dry ice for ultra-low temperature control to store vaccines for up to 30 days.

An integrated supply chain network with well-functioning return logistics will ensure circularity of such packaging to be refurbished and reused, which could reduce packaging waste by up to 50 to 60 percent, shared Lim.

5. Setting up strategic warehousing

Moving and storing vaccines adequately is just as important as administering them, as incorrect implementation can lead to wastage, noted Ms Lim. And in these pandemic times, wastage can come at a high cost.

Up to 70 percent of health facilities in low and middle-income countries are ill-prepared to store large volumes of Covid-19 vaccines at the optimum temperature. According to readiness assessments conducted by the World Bank last year, just over 50 percent of countries assessed had the cold chain capacities needed to deploy vaccines, based on the cold chain capacity for regular temperature vaccines.

An African doctor holding a Covid-19 vaccine vial (Photo: Shutterstock)
An African doctor holding a Covid-19 vaccine vial (Photo: Shutterstock)

One solution, highlighted in DHL’s Delivering Pandemic Resilience whitepaper, to mitigate the lack of ultra-cold infrastructure locally is to implement the supply chain archetype of direct shipping to the point of use, without the need for cross-docking or repackaging.

For larger countries, governments can explore setting up appropriate storage locations at local or regional levels. This includes taking into account factors like the cost and future utilization of large-scale cold-chain storage and warehousing.

6. Ensuring synchronized flow of goods

Vaccines and ancillary supplies like needles, syringes and diluents go hand in hand. To ensure maximum efficiency, ample consideration must be given for ancillary supplies that need to be shipped and stored either jointly or separately, depending on the local infrastructure, logistical capabilities, and the availability of medical supplies.

In the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, vaccines and ancillary supplies were combined upon arrival in the country before being delivered to remote locations by foot or helicopter. Over 95 percent of the adult population has received their first shot.

7. Providing easy access to vaccination points

The accessibility of vaccination sites can make or break a vaccination campaign.

Depending on the overall demand and size of the country, vaccination points should be located in areas that allow seamless patient and logistical access.

Citizens queuing for the Covid-19 vaccine in Al Wasl, Dubai, UAE (Photo: Shutterstock)
Citizens queuing for the Covid-19 vaccine in Al Wasl, Dubai, UAE (Photo: Shutterstock)

The United Arab Emirates, for instance, can administer the vaccine at any of its 205 vaccination locations across the country. It has since emerged as one of the fastest countries to roll out vaccines worldwide.

8. Educating the population

Vaccine education can save lives. As a key part of all health systems, community-wide education on the benefits of vaccinations can help people make informed decisions about their health. This means increasing people's knowledge of the pandemic and change their attitudes to vaccines.

One successful example is Rwanda’s Ministry of Health. It launched a successful vaccine rollout with the help of widescale communication efforts via Twitter, television, and radio, based on personalized updates for vaccination priority groups and the influence of community leaders.

9. Implementing a user-friendly process

A seamless vaccination process can help improve vaccine sign-up rates.

This means creating centralized registration and scheduling based on clearly defined criteria like age, profession, or immunity to the virus. Setting up vaccination locations with minimal barriers to access will also be essential.

A healthcare worker administering the Covid-19 vaccine in Bucharest, Romania (Photo: Shutterstock)
A healthcare worker administering the Covid-19 vaccine in Bucharest, Romania (Photo: Shutterstock)

10. Offering incentives for the last-movers

Vaccinating the public means leaving no one behind. This means offering incentives, or helping to alleviate the associated costs that might deter the public from signing up.

In some countries like Thailand, fully vaccinated people face fewer travel restrictions — the island of Phuket is expected to open its doors to vaccinated travelers. Some possible measures to boost vaccination demand include offering paid sick leave, or free meals and vouchers to encourage vaccination.

Preparing for the next crisis

This public health crisis was not the first, nor will it be the last.

Around 7 to 9 billion vaccine doses and corresponding ancillary supplies are expected to be distributed annually between 2022 to 2023. For this to succeed, all stakeholders must be prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain their logistics infrastructure and capacity, and plan for seasonal fluctuations.

“The key is to build a well-oiled supply chain system that can stand up to this pandemic and the ones that will follow. Collaboration will be critical to this effort,” shared Lim.

“We’re always working closely with our customers and with so many moving parts, we established a cross-business unit taskforce so everyone is on the same page globally and regionally. This allows us to keep a pulse on the dynamic situation and respond as a group where logistics is needed to deliver healthcare.”

 

For more insights, download the whitepaper here:

		Array
(
    [get_fields] => Array
        (
            [introduction_paragraph] => As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to turn up in fresh waves globally, DHL has outlined 10 steps to prepare supply chains to support the quick rollout of vaccines.
            [seo_title] => To win the race against Covid-19, enabling access to vaccinations is key
            [excerpt] => As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to turn up in fresh waves, DHL has outlined 10 steps to prepare supply chains to support the quick rollout of vaccines.
            [thumbnail] => Array
                (
                    [wide] => Array
                        (
                            [ID] => 13994
                            [id] => 13994
                            [title] => Article Key Image_1697717815
                            [filename] => Article-Key-Image_1697717815.jpg
                            [filesize] => 486026
                            [url] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815.jpg
                            [link] => https://lot.dhl.com/to-win-the-race-against-covid-19-enabling-access-to-vaccinations-is-key/article-key-image_1697717815/
                            [alt] => 
                            [author] => 159
                            [description] => 
                            [caption] => 
                            [name] => article-key-image_1697717815
                            [status] => inherit
                            [uploaded_to] => 13993
                            [date] => 2021-06-08 06:27:19
                            [modified] => 2021-06-08 06:27:19
                            [menu_order] => 0
                            [mime_type] => image/jpeg
                            [type] => image
                            [subtype] => jpeg
                            [icon] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-includes/images/media/default.png
                            [width] => 1200
                            [height] => 630
                            [sizes] => Array
                                (
                                    [thumbnail] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-150x150.jpg
                                    [thumbnail-width] => 150
                                    [thumbnail-height] => 150
                                    [medium] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-300x158.jpg
                                    [medium-width] => 300
                                    [medium-height] => 158
                                    [medium_large] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-768x403.jpg
                                    [medium_large-width] => 768
                                    [medium_large-height] => 403
                                    [large] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-1024x538.jpg
                                    [large-width] => 1024
                                    [large-height] => 538
                                    [1536x1536] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815.jpg
                                    [1536x1536-width] => 1200
                                    [1536x1536-height] => 630
                                    [2048x2048] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815.jpg
                                    [2048x2048-width] => 1200
                                    [2048x2048-height] => 630
                                    [story_normal] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-300x248.jpg
                                    [story_normal-width] => 300
                                    [story_normal-height] => 248
                                    [story_single] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-800x420.jpg
                                    [story_single-width] => 800
                                    [story_single-height] => 420
                                    [story_wide] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-800x310.jpg
                                    [story_wide-width] => 800
                                    [story_wide-height] => 310
                                    [whitepaper_thumb] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-300x417.jpg
                                    [whitepaper_thumb-width] => 300
                                    [whitepaper_thumb-height] => 417
                                    [story_gallery] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-1024x538.jpg
                                    [story_gallery-width] => 1024
                                    [story_gallery-height] => 538
                                    [story_ampsize] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815.jpg
                                    [story_ampsize-width] => 1200
                                    [story_ampsize-height] => 630
                                    [ads_mobile] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-300x158.jpg
                                    [ads_mobile-width] => 300
                                    [ads_mobile-height] => 158
                                    [web-stories-poster-portrait] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-640x630.jpg
                                    [web-stories-poster-portrait-width] => 640
                                    [web-stories-poster-portrait-height] => 630
                                    [web-stories-publisher-logo] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-96x96.jpg
                                    [web-stories-publisher-logo-width] => 96
                                    [web-stories-publisher-logo-height] => 96
                                    [web-stories-thumbnail] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Article-Key-Image_1697717815-150x79.jpg
                                    [web-stories-thumbnail-width] => 150
                                    [web-stories-thumbnail-height] => 79
                                )

                        )

                    [square] => Array
                        (
                            [ID] => 13995
                            [id] => 13995
                            [title] => Single Column Image_1815394049
                            [filename] => Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                            [filesize] => 52781
                            [url] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                            [link] => https://lot.dhl.com/to-win-the-race-against-covid-19-enabling-access-to-vaccinations-is-key/single-column-image_1815394049/
                            [alt] => 
                            [author] => 159
                            [description] => 
                            [caption] => 
                            [name] => single-column-image_1815394049
                            [status] => inherit
                            [uploaded_to] => 13993
                            [date] => 2021-06-08 06:27:39
                            [modified] => 2021-06-08 06:27:39
                            [menu_order] => 0
                            [mime_type] => image/jpeg
                            [type] => image
                            [subtype] => jpeg
                            [icon] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-includes/images/media/default.png
                            [width] => 300
                            [height] => 248
                            [sizes] => Array
                                (
                                    [thumbnail] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049-150x150.jpg
                                    [thumbnail-width] => 150
                                    [thumbnail-height] => 150
                                    [medium] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [medium-width] => 300
                                    [medium-height] => 248
                                    [medium_large] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [medium_large-width] => 300
                                    [medium_large-height] => 248
                                    [large] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [large-width] => 300
                                    [large-height] => 248
                                    [1536x1536] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [1536x1536-width] => 300
                                    [1536x1536-height] => 248
                                    [2048x2048] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [2048x2048-width] => 300
                                    [2048x2048-height] => 248
                                    [story_normal] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049-300x248.jpg
                                    [story_normal-width] => 300
                                    [story_normal-height] => 248
                                    [story_single] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [story_single-width] => 300
                                    [story_single-height] => 248
                                    [story_wide] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [story_wide-width] => 300
                                    [story_wide-height] => 248
                                    [whitepaper_thumb] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [whitepaper_thumb-width] => 300
                                    [whitepaper_thumb-height] => 248
                                    [story_gallery] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [story_gallery-width] => 300
                                    [story_gallery-height] => 248
                                    [story_ampsize] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [story_ampsize-width] => 300
                                    [story_ampsize-height] => 248
                                    [ads_mobile] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [ads_mobile-width] => 300
                                    [ads_mobile-height] => 248
                                    [web-stories-poster-portrait] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049.jpg
                                    [web-stories-poster-portrait-width] => 300
                                    [web-stories-poster-portrait-height] => 248
                                    [web-stories-publisher-logo] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049-96x96.jpg
                                    [web-stories-publisher-logo-width] => 96
                                    [web-stories-publisher-logo-height] => 96
                                    [web-stories-thumbnail] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image_1815394049-150x124.jpg
                                    [web-stories-thumbnail-width] => 150
                                    [web-stories-thumbnail-height] => 124
                                )

                        )

                    [thumbnail_category_option] => none
                    [gif_wide] => 
                    [gif_square] => 
                    [video_key] => 
                    [video_single] => 
                )

            [story_options] => Array
                (
                )

            [category] => 6
            [regions] => 
            [countries] => 
            [industry] => 13
            [business_units_bu-related] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 21
                )

            [collection] => 
            [quoted_persons] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 4250
                )

            [content] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [acf_fc_layout] => wysiwyg
                            [wysiwyg] => 

When the first Covid-19 vaccine was approved for use in late 2020, it marked a momentous achievement in science.

It was the result of an urgent and expedited development process that would have typically taken years. As scientists worldwide rallied together to develop next-generation vaccine technology, governments invested heavily in manufacturing infrastructure to shore up vaccine production capacities.

To date, more than 2.15 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. Yet, the war against the coronavirus is far from over.

The uneven distribution of vaccines, a decline in raw materials, and new, deadlier virus strains threaten to undo the good work.

Ten billion vaccine doses are required globally for high levels of immunization by the end of 2021, but only four countries have achieved vaccination rates of 50 percent so far, while those with less-developed infrastructure continue to face challenges in the rollout.

Another factor is the constantly evolving global supply chain landscape, according to Leonora Lim, Vice President at DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, Life Sciences and Healthcare.

“The information sphere is constantly evolving — whether it’s the kind of vaccines approved by each country, the volumes that they require or the ideal temperature and packaging required. This means we need to adapt quickly and efficiently to meet changing demands,” explained Lim.

The need for resilient supply chain networks, smart technology, and cross-border collaborations to help sustain the momentum has never been more crucial. In its latest white paper Revisiting Pandemic Resilience, DHL outlines 10 steps stakeholders need to put in place to support the great vaccine rollout and build a more resilient world.

Source: Revisiting Pandemic Resilience whitepaper
Source: Revisiting Pandemic Resilience whitepaper

1. Establishing partnerships without borders

While Asia was already in the cockpit of the supply race with millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) and test kits shipped out of China and South Korea, the delivery of vaccines has been a different ball game, shared Lim.

It is taking place on a different scale of distribution, and with strict temperature and handling requirements. Cross-sector and cross-border partnerships are necessary to address the urgent need for a viable medical supply chain for the vaccines, she noted.

Collaboration will help stakeholders align on the monitoring and delivery of vaccines and ancillary supplies. For instance, the signatories of the UNICEF and World Economic Forum charter on Covid-19 vaccine delivery have offered pro bono support in the form of specialist logistics personnel for global logistics coordination, and operational assistance for warehousing and cold-chain solutions at regional and national levels.

Partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry, governments, and logistics players can help consolidate expertise under one roof. This means uncovering innovative new treatments, streamlining delivery mechanisms, and even preparing for future pandemics.

2. Building a supportive data backbone

Data is king — even in vaccine distributions. Digitalizing the supply chain helps countries with timely decision-making, from early warning of pressure points to ensuring end-to-end supply chain transparency. For example, the DHL Express Quality Control Center looks out for shipment delays, identify areas that need improvements and take proactive action to address them.

“With data sharing protocols in place across different operating systems, supply chain stakeholders will be able to get a holistic real-time view of the supply chain, which will help resolve bottlenecks efficiently to minimize disruptions,” said Lim.

3. Staying on top of transportation capacity management

Managing transportation capacity can save time and prevent unnecessary bottlenecks that may delay deliveries and compromise vaccine quality.

With vaccine distribution a priority for many countries, securing the right transportation capacity at the right time is vital for the successful delivery of vaccines that may have varying requirements such as temperature control.

Tools such as the DHL Ice Tracker can track the quantity of dry ice that is going to be uplifted, ensuring that it does not exceed the stipulated limit for the safety of the aircraft and crew.

) [1] => Array ( [acf_fc_layout] => outbound_box [cards] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [type] => linked [linked_post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8328 [post_author] => 1122 [post_date] => 2020-09-23 17:49:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-23 09:49:10 [post_content] =>

Vaccine logistics for Covid-19 will pose challenges along the supply chain that must be jointly addressed by governments, NGOs, pharmaceutical companies, and logistics players urgently.

With vaccines historically being developed over a timeline of five to 20 years, the idea that a Covid-19 vaccine could be broadly administered as early as late-2020 is ground-breaking.

In August, Dr. Tedros Andhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General for the World Health Organisation, said that WHO has been in extensive consultations to develop a new framework to guide fair and equitable access to Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for all countries.

He added: “We will need to quickly manufacture billions of doses to reach all those who need the vaccine.

“All this means elite planning at the highest levels is needed right now to prepare to vaccinate and treat the world, as new technologies come down the pipeline.”

With over a hundred scientific teams worldwide pushing hard to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, the race is on, with much talk about a vaccine being delivered towards the last quarter of 2020.

But even should they succeed, there are considerable complexities in ramping up and distributing the vaccine, with the pandemic itself still crippling much of our supply and distribution workforce numbers and efficiencies.

For national governments, managing and leading vaccine manufacturers, supply chain logistics and infrastructure adds to their current challenges of containing the pandemic.

WATCH: What Lessons Has Covid-19 Taught On Securing Stable Supply Chains For Future Health Emergencies?

Temperature matters

DHL Customer Solutions and Innovations recently released a white paper titled Delivering Pandemic Resilience, that focuses on securing stable supply chains for essential medical goods during public health emergencies, such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of CSI, explains, “When it comes to expected Covid-19 vaccine cold-chain protocols, there are essentially two approaches: the conventional, based on current vaccine protocols; or a more stringent one.”

“For the stringent approach, producers of certain vaccines and their logistics providers have to choose to adhere to strict and extreme temperature requirements (up to -80 °C) to maintain the effectiveness of the vaccines during storage and transport.

“These conditions are in line with the ones used for certain Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials (Phase III) currently.

“These requirements might be lifted over time if vaccine efficacy under higher temperature is proven by stability testing, or if formulations are improved, and additional manufacturing steps are added to increase stability.

“The certainty of success of following a conventional approach partially depends on the vaccine platform. “

While for a protein-based vaccine, more manageable transport requirements (+2°C to +8°C) have been trialed and tested, applying a conventional transportation approach to the front runners, such as viral vector and ribonucleic acid (a polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes) platforms, is riskier and based on less experience and stability data. 

If things go extraordinarily well, the first vaccine that proves to be clinically effective could, in theory, be the ideal candidate, in that it is not only effective but also allows for scalable production and a manageable distribution at room temperature. However, the announced production capacities are particularly high for vaccines of the RNA and viral vector type.

When finished vaccine products are ready for distribution and delivery, most private vaccine companies will work with specialized third-party logistics companies (3PLs). These companies specialize in cross-border movement, customs approvals, maintaining cold chain infrastructure, and equipment to facilitate product pickup and last-mile delivery. They also have access to warehousing, ocean containers, trucks, and other facilities with cold chain refrigeration and temperature measurement capabilities.

RELATED ARTICLES


White Paper: Delivering Pandemic Resilience
This white paper looks at solutions to some of the big supply chain questions for countries facing large-scale public health emergencies.

Public-private partnerships will be crucial when a vaccine is ready

Under the stringent scenario, pharmaceutical companies, governments, NGOs, and logistics providers need to be prepared to handle these requirements on a scale far beyond the clinical trials.

The question is – are national governments ready to take over these vaccines upon their arrival, and manage their distribution channels within their communities with the necessary cold chain facilities? Primary hubs of local distribution could include hospitals and schools, with private-sector workplaces also serving as alternative distribution locales.

Unfortunately, it seems current cold-chain facilities that can accommodate such intensive one-day vaccination events would still only cover a fraction of the healthy population in most, if not all countries.

According to a report by John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, it is highly likely that 70 percent of the global population will need the vaccine for Covid-19 within a short time frame, which increases the importance of a cold chain-ready distribution framework. As it stands, WHO estimates that up to half of all vaccines are wasted each year globally, mostly because of a lack of temperature control and the logistics to support an unbroken cold chain for them.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, also recently raised concerns on cold chain infrastructure and transport in the U.S, according to ABC News.

At a meeting convened by the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, she said, “The complexities of a plan for vaccine storage and handling will have a major impact in our ability to efficiently deliver the vaccine.”

Dr. Erin Fox, senior pharmacy director for drug information and support services at the University of Utah added, “Most pharmacies, most clinics, most places are not going to have ultra-low-temperature freezers on hand.”

Leonora Lim, Vice President in Asia Pacific of DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, Life Sciences and Healthcare said, “While I am sure all countries have some form of healthcare distribution systems, we still do not know when the vaccines will be ready, and the timing as well as the volume that they will be sent. With differing levels of maturity and sophistication in each country, it has made the need for public-private and public-public partnership more pressing, especially in such a dynamic and volatile environment.”

Referencing the cold-chain public infrastructure in Asia-Pacific, Lim said: “The region is vast, and heterogeneous, including the world’s top two most populous countries – India and China.

RELATED ARTICLES


How South Korea juggles cold chain logistics, amid high Covid-19 test kit demand
South Korea has emerged as one of the biggest producer countries for Covid-19 test kits – here’s how the country meets the high global demand.

Thailand is a positive example when such public-private partnerships go right, according to WHO’s previous case studies on vaccine supply chain and logistics. In 2009, Thailand’s vaccine supply chain and logistics system faced challenges such as wasted and expired vaccine products, inventory control issues, and high costs.

To improve efficiency, Thailand outsourced its vaccine supply chain through a vendor-managed inventory (VMI) system. The system was initially piloted in 28 of 76 provinces and gradually expanded nationwide by late 2010.

The outsourced VMI system streamlined inventory management by reducing from five to three the number of steps that vaccines had to go through in the supply chain. This reduced both the volume of vaccine stock and the length of time vaccines spent in storage.

The economic analysis revealed that in its first year, the VMI system saved nearly one-fifth of the cost of distributing vaccines throughout the national supply chain system. This was achieved through more efficient use of resources, lower logistics costs, and efficiency gains from a reduction of vaccines procured and distributed.

Busch concluded, “Managing such complex supply chains and distribution networks is a demanding task that requires experts to carry them out, and this becomes only more important when talking about highly sensitive products such as vaccines or similar medical products that are crucial to protecting people’s lives.”

“We are convinced that having a go-to logistics partner in place, and most importantly, planning with identified contacts in place ahead of time will go a long way in ensuring stable operations when those are needed most.”

[post_title] => Vaccine Logistics: The key challenges for governments and private sector players [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => vaccine-logistics-the-key-challenges-for-governments-and-private-sector-players [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-09-27 23:13:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-09-27 15:13:05 [post_content_filtered] =>

With vaccines historically being developed over a timeline of five to 20 years, the idea that a Covid-19 vaccine could be broadly administered as early as late-2020 is ground-breaking.

In August, Dr. Tedros Andhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General for the World Health Organisation, said that WHO has been in extensive consultations to develop a new framework to guide fair and equitable access to Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for all countries.

He added: “We will need to quickly manufacture billions of doses to reach all those who need the vaccine.

“All this means elite planning at the highest levels is needed right now to prepare to vaccinate and treat the world, as new technologies come down the pipeline.”

With over a hundred scientific teams worldwide pushing hard to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, the race is on, with much talk about a vaccine being delivered towards the last quarter of 2020.

But even should they succeed, there are considerable complexities in ramping up and distributing the vaccine, with the pandemic itself still crippling much of our supply and distribution workforce numbers and efficiencies.

For national governments, managing and leading vaccine manufacturers, supply chain logistics and infrastructure adds to their current challenges of containing the pandemic.

WATCH: What Lessons Has Covid-19 Taught On Securing Stable Supply Chains For Future Health Emergencies?

Temperature matters

DHL Customer Solutions and Innovations recently released a white paper titled Delivering Pandemic Resilience, that focuses on securing stable supply chains for essential medical goods during public health emergencies, such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of CSI, explains, “When it comes to expected Covid-19 vaccine cold-chain protocols, there are essentially two approaches: the conventional, based on current vaccine protocols; or a more stringent one.”

“For the stringent approach, producers of certain vaccines and their logistics providers have to choose to adhere to strict and extreme temperature requirements (up to -80 °C) to maintain the effectiveness of the vaccines during storage and transport.

“These conditions are in line with the ones used for certain Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials (Phase III) currently.

“These requirements might be lifted over time if vaccine efficacy under higher temperature is proven by stability testing, or if formulations are improved, and additional manufacturing steps are added to increase stability.

“The certainty of success of following a conventional approach partially depends on the vaccine platform. “

While for a protein-based vaccine, more manageable transport requirements (+2°C to +8°C) have been trialed and tested, applying a conventional transportation approach to the front runners, such as viral vector and ribonucleic acid (a polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes) platforms, is riskier and based on less experience and stability data. 

If things go extraordinarily well, the first vaccine that proves to be clinically effective could, in theory, be the ideal candidate, in that it is not only effective but also allows for scalable production and a manageable distribution at room temperature. However, the announced production capacities are particularly high for vaccines of the RNA and viral vector type.

When finished vaccine products are ready for distribution and delivery, most private vaccine companies will work with specialized third-party logistics companies (3PLs). These companies specialize in cross-border movement, customs approvals, maintaining cold chain infrastructure, and equipment to facilitate product pickup and last-mile delivery. They also have access to warehousing, ocean containers, trucks, and other facilities with cold chain refrigeration and temperature measurement capabilities.

RELATED ARTICLES


White Paper: Delivering Pandemic Resilience
This white paper looks at solutions to some of the big supply chain questions for countries facing large-scale public health emergencies.

Public-private partnerships will be crucial when a vaccine is ready

Under the stringent scenario, pharmaceutical companies, governments, NGOs, and logistics providers need to be prepared to handle these requirements on a scale far beyond the clinical trials.

The question is – are national governments ready to take over these vaccines upon their arrival, and manage their distribution channels within their communities with the necessary cold chain facilities? Primary hubs of local distribution could include hospitals and schools, with private-sector workplaces also serving as alternative distribution locales.

Unfortunately, it seems current cold-chain facilities that can accommodate such intensive one-day vaccination events would still only cover a fraction of the healthy population in most, if not all countries.

According to a report by John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, it is highly likely that 70 percent of the global population will need the vaccine for Covid-19 within a short time frame, which increases the importance of a cold chain-ready distribution framework. As it stands, WHO estimates that up to half of all vaccines are wasted each year globally, mostly because of a lack of temperature control and the logistics to support an unbroken cold chain for them.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, also recently raised concerns on cold chain infrastructure and transport in the U.S, according to ABC News.

At a meeting convened by the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, she said, “The complexities of a plan for vaccine storage and handling will have a major impact in our ability to efficiently deliver the vaccine.”

Dr. Erin Fox, senior pharmacy director for drug information and support services at the University of Utah added, “Most pharmacies, most clinics, most places are not going to have ultra-low-temperature freezers on hand.”

Leonora Lim, Vice President in Asia Pacific of DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, Life Sciences and Healthcare said, “While I am sure all countries have some form of healthcare distribution systems, we still do not know when the vaccines will be ready, and the timing as well as the volume that they will be sent. With differing levels of maturity and sophistication in each country, it has made the need for public-private and public-public partnership more pressing, especially in such a dynamic and volatile environment.”

Referencing the cold-chain public infrastructure in Asia-Pacific, Lim said: “The region is vast, and heterogeneous, including the world’s top two most populous countries – India and China.

RELATED ARTICLES


How South Korea juggles cold chain logistics, amid high Covid-19 test kit demand
South Korea has emerged as one of the biggest producer countries for Covid-19 test kits – here’s how the country meets the high global demand.

Thailand is a positive example when such public-private partnerships go right, according to WHO’s previous case studies on vaccine supply chain and logistics. In 2009, Thailand’s vaccine supply chain and logistics system faced challenges such as wasted and expired vaccine products, inventory control issues, and high costs.

To improve efficiency, Thailand outsourced its vaccine supply chain through a vendor-managed inventory (VMI) system. The system was initially piloted in 28 of 76 provinces and gradually expanded nationwide by late 2010.

The outsourced VMI system streamlined inventory management by reducing from five to three the number of steps that vaccines had to go through in the supply chain. This reduced both the volume of vaccine stock and the length of time vaccines spent in storage.

The economic analysis revealed that in its first year, the VMI system saved nearly one-fifth of the cost of distributing vaccines throughout the national supply chain system. This was achieved through more efficient use of resources, lower logistics costs, and efficiency gains from a reduction of vaccines procured and distributed.

Busch concluded, “Managing such complex supply chains and distribution networks is a demanding task that requires experts to carry them out, and this becomes only more important when talking about highly sensitive products such as vaccines or similar medical products that are crucial to protecting people’s lives.”

“We are convinced that having a go-to logistics partner in place, and most importantly, planning with identified contacts in place ahead of time will go a long way in ensuring stable operations when those are needed most.”

[post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://lot.dhl.com/?p=8328 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [custom] => Array ( [thumbnail] => [title] => [excerpt] => [cta] => Read more [linkmail] => [cta_url] => [email_address] => [outbound_email_subject] => ) ) ) ) [2] => Array ( [acf_fc_layout] => wysiwyg [wysiwyg] =>

4. Putting the ‘green’ in packaging

Most approved vaccines have cold or ultra-cold storage temperatures that require special packaging systems, which can be expensive. Ensuring the reusability of packaging will reduce wastage and costs over the long term.

For instance, temperature-control packaging solutions provider Softbox developed a specialized reusable ultra-low temperature (ULT) shipper to support the distribution and storage of ultra-low temperature vaccines. The reusable box, built with high-performance insulation materials, can be topped up with dry ice for ultra-low temperature control to store vaccines for up to 30 days.

An integrated supply chain network with well-functioning return logistics will ensure circularity of such packaging to be refurbished and reused, which could reduce packaging waste by up to 50 to 60 percent, shared Lim.

5. Setting up strategic warehousing

Moving and storing vaccines adequately is just as important as administering them, as incorrect implementation can lead to wastage, noted Ms Lim. And in these pandemic times, wastage can come at a high cost.

Up to 70 percent of health facilities in low and middle-income countries are ill-prepared to store large volumes of Covid-19 vaccines at the optimum temperature. According to readiness assessments conducted by the World Bank last year, just over 50 percent of countries assessed had the cold chain capacities needed to deploy vaccines, based on the cold chain capacity for regular temperature vaccines.

An African doctor holding a Covid-19 vaccine vial (Photo: Shutterstock)
An African doctor holding a Covid-19 vaccine vial (Photo: Shutterstock)

One solution, highlighted in DHL’s Delivering Pandemic Resilience whitepaper, to mitigate the lack of ultra-cold infrastructure locally is to implement the supply chain archetype of direct shipping to the point of use, without the need for cross-docking or repackaging.

For larger countries, governments can explore setting up appropriate storage locations at local or regional levels. This includes taking into account factors like the cost and future utilization of large-scale cold-chain storage and warehousing.

6. Ensuring synchronized flow of goods

Vaccines and ancillary supplies like needles, syringes and diluents go hand in hand. To ensure maximum efficiency, ample consideration must be given for ancillary supplies that need to be shipped and stored either jointly or separately, depending on the local infrastructure, logistical capabilities, and the availability of medical supplies.

In the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, vaccines and ancillary supplies were combined upon arrival in the country before being delivered to remote locations by foot or helicopter. Over 95 percent of the adult population has received their first shot.

7. Providing easy access to vaccination points

The accessibility of vaccination sites can make or break a vaccination campaign.

Depending on the overall demand and size of the country, vaccination points should be located in areas that allow seamless patient and logistical access.

Citizens queuing for the Covid-19 vaccine in Al Wasl, Dubai, UAE (Photo: Shutterstock)
Citizens queuing for the Covid-19 vaccine in Al Wasl, Dubai, UAE (Photo: Shutterstock)

The United Arab Emirates, for instance, can administer the vaccine at any of its 205 vaccination locations across the country. It has since emerged as one of the fastest countries to roll out vaccines worldwide.

8. Educating the population

Vaccine education can save lives. As a key part of all health systems, community-wide education on the benefits of vaccinations can help people make informed decisions about their health. This means increasing people’s knowledge of the pandemic and change their attitudes to vaccines.

One successful example is Rwanda’s Ministry of Health. It launched a successful vaccine rollout with the help of widescale communication efforts via Twitter, television, and radio, based on personalized updates for vaccination priority groups and the influence of community leaders.

9. Implementing a user-friendly process

A seamless vaccination process can help improve vaccine sign-up rates.

This means creating centralized registration and scheduling based on clearly defined criteria like age, profession, or immunity to the virus. Setting up vaccination locations with minimal barriers to access will also be essential.

A healthcare worker administering the Covid-19 vaccine in Bucharest, Romania (Photo: Shutterstock)
A healthcare worker administering the Covid-19 vaccine in Bucharest, Romania (Photo: Shutterstock)

10. Offering incentives for the last-movers

Vaccinating the public means leaving no one behind. This means offering incentives, or helping to alleviate the associated costs that might deter the public from signing up.

In some countries like Thailand, fully vaccinated people face fewer travel restrictions — the island of Phuket is expected to open its doors to vaccinated travelers. Some possible measures to boost vaccination demand include offering paid sick leave, or free meals and vouchers to encourage vaccination.

Preparing for the next crisis

This public health crisis was not the first, nor will it be the last.

Around 7 to 9 billion vaccine doses and corresponding ancillary supplies are expected to be distributed annually between 2022 to 2023. For this to succeed, all stakeholders must be prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain their logistics infrastructure and capacity, and plan for seasonal fluctuations.

“The key is to build a well-oiled supply chain system that can stand up to this pandemic and the ones that will follow. Collaboration will be critical to this effort,” shared Lim.

“We’re always working closely with our customers and with so many moving parts, we established a cross-business unit taskforce so everyone is on the same page globally and regionally. This allows us to keep a pulse on the dynamic situation and respond as a group where logistics is needed to deliver healthcare.”

 

For more insights, download the whitepaper here:

) [3] => Array ( [acf_fc_layout] => outbound_box [cards] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [type] => custom [linked_post] => [custom] => Array ( [thumbnail] => Array ( [ID] => 14002 [id] => 14002 [title] => Single Column Image (Normal) - Revisiting pandemic resilience [filename] => Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [filesize] => 79716 [url] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [link] => https://lot.dhl.com/to-win-the-race-against-covid-19-enabling-access-to-vaccinations-is-key/single-column-image-normal-revisiting-pandemic-resilience/ [alt] => [author] => 159 [description] => [caption] => [name] => single-column-image-normal-revisiting-pandemic-resilience [status] => inherit [uploaded_to] => 13993 [date] => 2021-06-08 06:58:48 [modified] => 2021-06-08 06:58:48 [menu_order] => 0 [mime_type] => image/jpeg [type] => image [subtype] => jpeg [icon] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-includes/images/media/default.png [width] => 300 [height] => 248 [sizes] => Array ( [thumbnail] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience-150x150.jpg [thumbnail-width] => 150 [thumbnail-height] => 150 [medium] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [medium-width] => 300 [medium-height] => 248 [medium_large] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [medium_large-width] => 300 [medium_large-height] => 248 [large] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [large-width] => 300 [large-height] => 248 [1536x1536] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [1536x1536-width] => 300 [1536x1536-height] => 248 [2048x2048] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [2048x2048-width] => 300 [2048x2048-height] => 248 [story_normal] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience-300x248.jpg [story_normal-width] => 300 [story_normal-height] => 248 [story_single] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [story_single-width] => 300 [story_single-height] => 248 [story_wide] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [story_wide-width] => 300 [story_wide-height] => 248 [whitepaper_thumb] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [whitepaper_thumb-width] => 300 [whitepaper_thumb-height] => 248 [story_gallery] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [story_gallery-width] => 300 [story_gallery-height] => 248 [story_ampsize] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [story_ampsize-width] => 300 [story_ampsize-height] => 248 [ads_mobile] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [ads_mobile-width] => 300 [ads_mobile-height] => 248 [web-stories-poster-portrait] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience.jpg [web-stories-poster-portrait-width] => 300 [web-stories-poster-portrait-height] => 248 [web-stories-publisher-logo] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience-96x96.jpg [web-stories-publisher-logo-width] => 96 [web-stories-publisher-logo-height] => 96 [web-stories-thumbnail] => https://lot.dhl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Single-Column-Image-Normal-Revisiting-pandemic-resilience-150x124.jpg [web-stories-thumbnail-width] => 150 [web-stories-thumbnail-height] => 124 ) ) [title] => White Paper: Revisiting Pandemic Resilience [excerpt] => This white paper sheds light on what the logistics sector has learned from Covid-19 to be best prepared to handle public health emergencies in the future. [cta] => Download now [linkmail] => link [cta_url] => https://www.dhl.com/global-en/home/insights-and-innovation/thought-leadership/white-papers/revisiting-pandemic-resilience.html [email_address] => [outbound_email_subject] => ) ) ) ) ) [products] => [customer_sector] => [topic_tags] => Array ( [0] => 5250 ) [format] => article ) )
		Array
(
)
	
		Array
(
)