It has been announced recently that American company Pfizer has successfully tested a COVID-19 vaccine that demonstrated to be effective for 90% of patients, and Massachusetts-based company Moderna is reporting an estimated 94.5 percent effectiveness in the testing of their own vaccine. While the official release of a vaccine is not happening yet and studies have yet to be concluded, the day of intense vaccine transportation coming closer.
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed supply chain networks and the way businesses operate. Now, almost every company that has a supply chain is leaning toward a more flexible and agile business model. Everyone is aware that nothing is certain, and supply chains have gained more resiliency because of the uncertainty. There is another question many logistics managers are worried about: what should I do when the COVID-19 vaccine arrives? Preparing their supply chains to transport and distribute coronavirus antidote is becoming a central focus of supply chain management.
What are the challenges of vaccine transportation?
It’s apparent that when the vaccine is released, the freight market will face enormous pressure primarily because of the severely disrupted air travel. If the idea of the ripple effects of a vaccine being released doesn’t horrify you, look at the numbers: according to IATA, 8,000,747 flights are required to sustain every person on a planet with a single dose of vaccine. Combine this with the fact that vaccines can only be transported in a cold climate with special equipment. Additionally, this transportation chain will include not only the vaccine itself. It also involves everything else needed for vaccination, like glass bottles and needles. Even with all the logistics companies in the world working on deliverance, it will definitely be a challenge.
Essentially, it’s in everyone’s best interest to launch mass production of the vaccine and distribute it across the world as fast as possible. So many companies, whether they are related to medical transportation or not, are already adapting their supply chain for this purpose. UPS has recently announced its initiative to be involved in the vaccine distribution network.
Among other anticipated challenges is the price of transportation. Potential issues between governmental regulations and private organizations can also hinder the process of transport. For transportation companies, the key focus should be:
- freezers and other equipment;
- last-mile shipping strategy (especially for the regions with poor infrastructure).
Hopefully, the outcome is positive once a vaccine is released. With an effective strategy, companies will quickly adapt ways to safely distribute it across the globe.