Within the temperature-controlled industry, the responsibility for the fresh and timely delivery of goods is vital. In fact, it is the very backbone of the industry. And this has perhaps never been so vital as it is right now. With the pandemic leaking into 2021 and the announcement of several vaccinations now available in the UK, the temperature-controlled courier industry has been thrust into the spotlight as plans are made to distribute these throughout the country. If, at any point during the cold chain logistics of vaccine delivery an error is made, the risk of it looking some or all of its efficacy increases – which, in the current climate, could be devastating.
The Safe Transportation of Vaccinations
Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (which have been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA) need to be kept refrigerated until delivered due to the presence of mRNA. This molecule tricks the body into producing the viral proteins needed to provoke a level of immunity within the receiver.
The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures of approximately -100°F. This places a unique demand on the transportation and storage freezer units traditionally used to keep them frozen for long-term stability. mRNA breaks down very quickly when subjected to temperatures over this.
How the Temperature-Controlled Industry Is Helping
The logistics behind the delivery and distribution of the new COVID-19 vaccines is where the cold chain comes into play. A BBC article from December 2020 highlighted the need for a deep-freeze delivery chain whereby the vaccine would be stored at ultra-low temperatures at a ‘freezer farm’ before being delivered in dry ice packs to the designated vaccination centre. It can then be, safely, stored for up to 5 days in a fridge between 2 – 8°C.
Temperature-controlled courier solutions come into play during the transportation sector of this journey. Fully equipped with the technology and ability to maintain a consistent temperature within the van and monitor this throughout an entire journey, they are essential to ensuring the vaccine stays frozen until delivery.
The challenge here comes when we look at distributing the vaccine to local GP surgeries. These sights are unlikely to have the necessary equipment to store the vaccine for extended periods, reducing its viability. Here in the UK, we are seeing research facilities and universities sharing their specialist resources in an attempt to support these efforts.
Here at Iceotemp, we specialize in frozen temperature-controlled distribution for the pharmaceutical industry. With a fleet of state-of-the-art vehicles and a team of highly experienced individuals, we are there to support the cold-chain industry as we fight to get on the other side of this pandemic.