Vaccine Logistics

The Logistics Behind Rolling out the Covid Vaccine

The Covid 19 vaccine distribution effort is being described as the biggest logistics challenge since World War II.  An anchor on CNBC summed it up perfectly, “Scientists and Doctors solve diseases, but its logistics that solves the pandemic.” Carl Quintanilla, CNBC Anchor.

The great news is that the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization to the Pfizer vaccine, and within this next few days Moderna’s vaccine will most likely receive the same authorization, bringing the USA one step closer to ending the pandemic.  This massive effort will have a major impact on the USA supply chain. Have you considered its impact on your logistical operation, especially if you operate a frozen food order fulfillment operation or are primarily a parcel shipper E-com or B2B operation?

How Logistics of Distributing the Vaccine will Impact other Industries

The Covid vaccine distribution process will impact every distribution operation. Recently, CNBC reported that millions of doses of the vaccine will be shipped via UPS and FedEx as air freight.  For every pallet of vaccines shipped, it is estimated that 25 to 30 pallets of peripheral materials – alcohol wipes, syringes, and medical waste disposal containers will need to be coordinated and shipped at the same time to the vaccination centers. With Covid vaccine distribution taking priority and dominating major carrier resources, the upcoming transportation shortage may result in a real boom for the smaller, regional and last mile parcel carriers.

Shipping VaccineRequirements surrounding shipping the vaccine further complicate the logistics. The Pfizer vaccine must be maintained at ultra-cold temperatures requiring dry ice to maintain this temperature during shipping and storage. To accomplish this, the vaccines will be shipped in specialty cooler units with temperature sensors and alarms, along with a GPS unit, so that the vaccine can be continuously tracked.  The cooler containers’ monitoring devices present a reverse logistics challenge due to the required material returns to the vaccine distribution centers.

The food and beverage industries will be particularly impacted, as they will have trouble securing supplies needed to ship products safely.  Cold Chain and frozen food distribution centers along with other shippers will face the possibility of operating with a shortage of dry ice supplies.  All industries will likely face challenges finding and securing logistics carrier trailer space.

Optimize your Shipping Processes to Offset Unforeseen Challenges

It is crucial for you to be prepared with tools in place to optimize your shipping processes. Despite challenges caused by the pandemic, your operation must have the flexibility to continue to meet customer delivery expectations.  If you’re worried that your DC lacks the flexibility and processes to meet demand amid a changing environment, the experts at Numina Group are available to help.  Start by Downloading our free comprehensive guide to the latest lean processes, technologies and software to enable you to Turn Your DC into a Profit Machine.

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