By Cindy Gisler, Product Marketing Manager, Analytics
A COVID-19 vaccine may be available by the end of October.
As governments and industry progress towards a COVID-19 vaccine and distribution, agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have started to communicate what this distribution will look like, and what is important for your success.
For example: The CDC says it will scale up vaccine, distribution, tracking, and monitoring systems to support the response.
The core of a successful vaccine program
Secure storage and safe and efficient distribution of vaccine are the cornerstones of a successful vaccination program. The CDC’s vaccine distribution system, which transfers products to sites where they will be securely stored for later use, is flexible, scalable and tested. This system ensures maintenance of the cold chain, which is essential to vaccine effectiveness. Each year, the CDC distributes over 75 million doses of vaccines from every vaccine manufacturer to health departments and private health providers across the country. From these sites, vaccines may be transported in small quantities to clinical sites for immediate use, while maintaining the cold chain. During an emergency, this proven system can be scaled up and expedited to manage and distribute almost 900 million doses of vaccine. It is the only existing vaccine distribution system with the capacity and flexibility to reach the entire nation to support the needs of a pandemic.
(Source: CDC Interim pandemic distribution plan, 04/20/20)
Maintaining the cold chain
Three obvious considerations will come into play regarding your vaccine cold chain, which as the CDC says, is essential to vaccine effectiveness:
- The source of the vaccine candidate (such as inactivated virus, RNA or non-replicating viral vectors) will impact the complexity of managing the vaccine. Management may not simply be between +2 and +8 degrees, but rather a vaccine with a more stringent storage and shipping temperature, or even more challenging still, a vaccine with multiple components that are shipped and stored at multiple temperatures (+4°C, -20°C and ultra low). Managing multiple temperatures through a cold chain may be a real possibility.
- The volume of shipping and storing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses will put pressure on the simple considerations of logistics — are there enough refrigerators and freezers for storage, what kind of shipping supplies are needed, how are shipping schedules and logistics affected, etc.? Although initial vaccines will probably be released under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) involving a limited number of vaccine doses for a prioritized population of patients and limited vaccine administration sites, when vaccine supply does increase the number of people receiving vaccine will challenge the ability to source the material to manage the vaccine cold chain effectively. Advance planning will be crucial.
- The ability to monitor and log temperature effectively though out the cold chain to ensure vaccine efficacy is crucial. As an example, the CDC has offered guidelines for temperature monitoring equipment in a video.
- A supplier with a broad range of temperature monitoring and logging equipment that support vaccine cold chain applications
- NIST-Certified equipment
- Equipment certified measuring instruments for all applications
- Cloud-based monitoring services that are 21 CFR Part 11 compliance and EU Annex 11 compliant
All indications suggest that the first COVID-19 vaccine will be approved for use in late October, 2020 or early 2021 (with others to follow) —possibly sooner with the Emergency Use Authorization. It’s not a matter of if but when, and consideration to effectively distribute the vaccine needs to happen now.
Learn more about Traceable® temperature monitoring and data logging equipment specifically designed to support your vaccine cold chain.
Learn more about TraceableLive®
Get our latest blog posts delivered to your email. Sign up for our blog!