Pfizer plans bespoke supply chain to deliver Covid vaccine
10 November 2020
The plan will bypass the company’s usual wholesale route and deliver as directly as possible from the manufacturing plants to the point of need.
This is needed because the vaccine requires extremely low temperature storage, which is not supported in the regular supply chain.
From Pfizer’s key sites in the USA and Belgium, doses will be loaded into bespoke temperature-controlled containers and shipped by air around the world, as close as possible to vaccination sites.
Pfizer has designed small containers that will keep its doses at ultracold temperatures for up to 10 days. Each container holds between 1,000 and 5,000 doses.
Pfizer will use carriers such as FedEx, UPS and DHL to ship the doses around the world and to truck doses from airports to the vaccination sites.
Each package will have GPS-tracked sensors to monitor location and temperature.
Once the packages are delivered, receivers can store them inside a refrigeration unit for up to 5 days, or they can refill the box with new dry ice for up to 15 days of storage.
It is an innovative but delicate process and relies on fast shipping, open transport links, and prompt use of the doses once the containers are opened, as well as relying on the robustness of the containers themselves.