COVID-19 Vaccines are coming, is the delivery ready?
COVID-19 vaccine is the key to control the epidemic. But even the vaccines come out, the more important thing is the delivery. How can we secure stable supply chains for vaccines and other essential medical supplies during this and future public health emergencies?
- Global delivery of 10 billion doses of serum needs scaled-up medical supply chains
- A framework is provided to tackle future health emergencies beyond COVID-19
- To actively promote future vaccine delivery with China’s domestic vaccine manufacturer
With the first emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine expected to take effect in the last quarter of this year, logistics providers are facing the challenge of rapidly establishing a medical supply chain to deliver more than 10 billion doses of vaccine around the world. DHL, in cooperation with McKinsey & Company, has published a white paper on how to ensure a stable supply chain for vaccines and medical products in the face of COVID-19 and other future health crises.
Currently, more than 250 vaccine projects are under development and trial worldwide, and several COVID-19 vaccines are in clinical trials. Some vaccines are likely to have more stringent temperature controlling requirements (as low as -80 ° C) to ensure that they remain effective during later transportation and storage. This presents new logistical challenges for the medical supply chain that currently delivers vaccines at temperatures around 2-8 °C.
In the white paper, DHL assessed how to effectively manage the transport of heat-sensitive products such as vaccines to prevent further spread of the virus. The task is tough: moving COVID-19 vaccines around the world will require close coordination across the supply chain, requiring as many as 200,000 pallets, 15 million refrigerated container shipments, and at least 15,000 flights.
”The COVID-19 crisis emerged with an unprecedented breadth and impact. It required governments, businesses, and the logistics industry alike to adapt quickly to new challenges. As a world leader in logistics, we want to share our experience of operating during one of the biggest health crises in recent history, in order to develop strategies in an ever-more connected world”
explains Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL.
“To protect lives against the pandemic, governments have moved towards a more active role in medical supply chains. Over the past few months, we have demonstrated that sufficient planning and appropriate partnerships within the supply chain can play a key role as governments work to secure critical medical supplies during health emergencies such as this.”
Future public health crisis management to include public-private partnerships
Global demand for medical supplies has surged since the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, UNICEF purchased 100 times more masks and 2,000 times more medical gloves than in 2019. And transporting medical supplies from far-flung production sites to front-line use is one of the most important aspects of pandemic response management in the first phase of dealing with public health emergencies. The geographical concentration of production and processing, limited airlift capacity, and lack of entry inspection and quarantine pose major challenges to the entry of PPE. To ensure a stable supply of medical supplies in future public health crises, governments need to establish a comprehensive public health crisis strategy and framework in partnership with the public and private sectors.
“From the onset, Asia was in the cockpit of the supply race with millions of PPE and test kits shipped out of China and South Korea respectively,” added Leonora Lim, Head of Life Science and Healthcare, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, Asia Pacific. “The delivery of vaccines would be a completely different ball game however given the scale of distribution and strict temperature requirements. A close partnership between the public and private sectors would address the urgent need for a viable medical supply chain that will preserve the integrity of these vaccines and have them delivered to over 200 countries and territories in a timely fashion.”
To facilitate communicating between different participants and the resilience of the healthcare supply chain in response to the pandemic, DHL provides a framework for logistics companies to work with governments, NGOs and the life sciences industry to help develop measures to ensure maximum safety and stability in the supply chain. In addition to the emergency response plan, the framework includes a network of partnerships, a strong logistics infrastructure, and information technology to ensure supply chain transparency. The framework also concludes by emphasizing the hard establishment of a mission-specific emergency response unit to implement and advance all important initiatives at short notice.
Actively assist domestic vaccine manufacturers to promote future COVID-19 vaccine delivery
With the support of the government’s active epidemic prevention and control measures and targeted policies, China has not only taken the lead in overcoming the impact of the epidemic economically but also has taken a global lead in vaccine research and development. With high quality, logistics of compliance and overall supply chain solutions, DHL has contact with domestic vaccine production enterprises, and some of the business development has entered the stage of substantial, including packaging materials testing, dangerous goods management, and other related matters, as well as the vaccine production enterprises with export approval vaccines, packaging, and related certification, and export route design support, etc.
Click to read the complete White Paper