How Can We Safely Store The Covid-19 Vaccine?
These last few weeks have brought some long-awaited good news which are worth celebrating. Not just one, but two vaccines seem promising in their results, the news we all have been waiting for. So, now that it looks like a vaccine is finally on its way, the next challenges arise.
Pfizer announced that their vaccine has to be stored in much lower temperatures than usual for vaccines, down to -70°C.
That’s about the same temperature as the South Pole on a winter day, and much colder than any of the other leading vaccines in development.
If the Pfizer vaccine gets through the final approvals, it will have to be stored in -70°C. But how do you transport millions of such vaccines from the manufacturing facilities to hospitals, pharmacies and clinics on the other side of the world? Two vaccinations are required per person, so naturally that means millions of vaccines will have to be distributed to every single country.
Distribution of the vaccine requires a massive logistic operation, that crosses both borders and oceans. All the way, storage of the vaccine requires stringent conditions both in the short- and long-term storage utilities. Finally, there will be a limited number of vaccines to distribute and that leaves no place for error.
An operation that requires scale, speed and safety
It will be an operation that requires scale, speed and safety. Pharmaceutical companies, transportation companies, distributions centres, hospitals, GP Surgeries etc. are in full preparation mode to be ready for when this moment finally happens. The vaccine requires freezer temperatures, an option that many pharmacies and GP’s across our nation currently do not have. Acquiring such units will be crucial before they become eligible for storing and facilitating the vaccines. As the vaccines leave the manufacturer for shipping and distribution, they will also lose control of how it is stored. Therefore all employees will require training in how to administrate and store the vaccine.
Even in normal times it is a great challenge to administrate a nationwide vaccination program. But for this specific Pfizer vaccine that requires -70°C until, before it gets injected, it is even more complex and challenging. The Pfizer vaccine will be shipped in special cooler boxes from the manufacturing facility, which are kept cool with dry ice. When the vaccines reach their destination, they should be stored in ultra-cold freezers. As many places is yet to acquire such units, the vaccines can be stored in conventional freezers for a limited time. Optionally they can be kept in the cooler boxes as long as they get replenished with dry ice and not opened more than twice a day. Overall, not a sustainable solution when the entire nation is waiting for vaccinations.
IoT can safely store the Covid-19 vaccine
After finding suitable freezers, comes monitoring of the temperature. For such a vital global operation there will be no room for error. Therefore the vaccines will need to have ‘eyes on them’ at all times. IoT technology will be the solution to this challenge. Via a monitoring system it can provide full visibility and security to the vaccination storage. Our IoT temperature monitoring solution provides full traceability of the storage condition. It can generate compliance reports and have a 24/7 alerting system.
If a problem should occur, alerts are instantly sent to the key holder. Whether the units are located in local or remote locations, continuous information is accessible to the key holders. Full visibility is the only way to reassure the temperature is kept cool at all times, keeping the vaccine safe. Any vaccination facility will need to implement such a system, to be 100% compliant with the temperatures at all time. In case of problems with the freezer units the responsible individual or team will need to be alerted instantly as a drop in temperature can have fatal consequences and ultimately result in lost vaccination doses.
A vaccine is in the final stages of getting approved, is the good news we all have been waiting for this year. Now follows the logistic of the operation. If you are thinking about implementing temperature monitoring in your refrigerators or freezers, get in touch to watch a demo of our solution today.
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