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Let’s Talk Cold-Chain: Critical Distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

Turn on the news, surf the web, or scroll through Facebook and you’ll encounter the topic of the day, the week, the month--heck, the year--and last year too! Everyone is talking (or typing) about the COVID-19 vaccines.

They’re here! And everybody’s talking.

They’re talking about which populations should get the vaccines first, and then, which others, and in what order.

They’re talking about how the vaccines consist of two doses and there are a number of side effects reported by early testers.

They’re talking about how hospital and nursing homes should avoid vaccinating all of their workers simultaneously due to said side effects.

They’re talking about how initial supplies are expected to be limited and how the bulk of the US population isn’t expected to receive the vaccine until spring or even summer.

In all the hubbub surrounding the making of the vaccine, the approval of the vaccine and who deserves the vaccine first, very few people are thinking about, preparing for, or planning for the actual transportation of the vaccine. This is where cold-chain transportation enters the conversation and this is where things start to get tricky.

Cold chain refers to the management of temperature throughout a delivery process. Such particular temperature standards are put in place to ensure both safety and quality of perishable goods from the point of origin (pick up) to throughout the distribution change, to the final destination (drop off). When it comes to keeping vaccines safe and effective, cold chain is the only compliant delivery option available. In addition, if at any time the vaccines are stored, before, during, or after transport, the storage temperature is equally vital.

On a positive note, the vaccine industry has regulations that mandate strict monitoring and data logging of vaccine temperatures throughout the entire cold chain as even a small shift in temperature can render the product compromised or ineffective. Herein lies not just the problem, but a potential logistical nightmare.

Cold chain distribution is just one of the many services that Modal Global provides. We are in the process of gearing up to be able to handle larger quantities and look forward to being part of our nation’s distribution solution.

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