Trailer Magazine

Logistics juggernauts prepare for efficient vaccine delivery

  • Posted on Tuesday 15th, September 2020.

Specialised transport and logistics companies are competing to deliver world class medical supply chain services in the lead-up to the launch of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Kuehne + Nagel has more than 230 good practice certification in the pharmaceutical industry (GxP) operations worldwide, including Australia, and recently opened airside pharma and healthcare hubs in Brussels, Belgium, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Direct tarmac access at Kuehne + Nagel airside facilities is reported to ensure product integrity during the logistics journey which is important because temperature-sensitive products have low to no stability outside of their stated temperature ranges.

Kuehne + Nagel's new premises have dedicated areas for all ranges of temperature-sensitive products and have the capacity to change or add dry ice as required for deep frozen shipment where temperatures need to be maintained below -60°C.

"Today, new pharma and healthcare products tend to be more valuable, more temperature-sensitive and have additional requirements for storage and transportation conditions," said Kuehne + Nagel Board Member, Yngve Ruud. "Such capabilities and facilities are not easily available globally. The new hubs in Brussels and Johannesburg will ensure that our pharma and healthcare customers can fully rely on Kuehne + Nagel to handle the specific challenges of integrity as well as provide end-to-end visibility and regulatory compliance along the logistics journey of their sensitive products. So, they can focus on the health and well-being of their patients because this is what matters the most."

Meanwhile, DHL, in partnership with management consultants at McKinsey & Company, is reviewing its medical supply chain to prepare for the delivery of a Covid-19 vaccine when it is eventually packaged and ready for distribution.

DHL report that more than 250 vaccines across seven platforms are being developed and tested. Also, the logistical challenges of maintaining stringent temperature requirements (up to -80°C) during transportation and warehousing, for instance, is a concern when the current network generally distributes vaccines at ~2-8°C.

The projections for global vaccine distribution, according to DHL, include upwards of 200,000 pallet shipments, 15 million deliveries in cooling boxes and 15,000 flights which will require various supply chain arrangements.

DHL Chief Commercial Officer, Katja Busch, explained that sufficient planning and appropriate partnerships within the supply chain can play a key role in protecting lives against the pandemic as governments work to secure critical medical supplies during health emergencies.

On 7 September 2020 the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) called on all Australian governments (state and territory) to ensure that legislative amendments are made so that approved Covid-19 vaccines can be administered by pharmacists.

The Federal Government announced Covid-19 vaccines would be made available to Australians next year free of charge if trials are successful and they are proven to be safe and effective.

The Queensland Government has already passed legislation that will allow pharmacists to administer a Covid-19 vaccine.

"A proactive approach to legislative amendments now means that when the vaccine is available all jurisdictions around Australia will be ready to go, with the entire available health care workforce including pharmacists able to undertake a large-scale vaccination program," said PSA National President Associate Professor, Chris Freeman.

As part of the recently signed seventh community pharmacy agreement the Federal Government committed to supporting for harmonisation of pharmacist vaccines across all Australian jurisdictions.

The World Health Organization released a framework for decision-making on the implementation of mass vaccination campaigns in the context of Covid-19 on 22 May 2020. The document outlines guidance for national health authorities and immunisation program partners.

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