With the drug companies’ announcement, Pfizer and Moderna, about their COVID19 vaccines getting ready for administration to people, a sign of relief has swept among people across the globe. Simultaneously, the announcement also has brought to the fore the need for a cold chain.
Let us explore what a cold vaccine chain is all about–what is it and how it works.
What is a Vaccine Cold Chain?
A vaccine is a biological substance that needs careful handling to preserve its effectiveness. In the preservation process, temperature plays a critical role. If you store a vaccine at an inappropriate temperature, either too cold or too hot, the vaccine’s active ingredients can degrade, resulting in the vaccine becoming ineffective.
After production, vaccines need to be transported across the world, maintaining the proper temperature environment to preserve their potency.
You can regard the cold vaccine chain as a network of cold rooms, freezers, cold boxes, and carriers that keep vaccines at the right temperature during the transportation from the production facility to the syringe.
Keeping vaccines in cold environments during transportation might sound simple, but that is not so. It presents many challenges. And if you transport vaccines to remote or rural areas where there is unreliable electricity, the challenges will only intensify.
It would help if you overcame the challenges by integrating technology into your logistics system, such as an ultra-low temperature freezer, for the apparent rea
Why COVID19 Vaccines Need a Cold Chain?
The COVID19 vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna have accentuated the need for a cold chain more than ever. According to the companies, Pfizer’s vaccine has to be kept at minus 70 degrees C, and Moderna’s vaccine requires a temperature of minus 20 degrees C. So, healthcare facilities have to invest in an ultra-low temperature freezer to store the vaccines effectively.
The Associated Challenges
The cold chain poses numerous challenges. Getting the necessary electricity is one of the challenges.
Ultra-cold temperature freezers require more power than the standard refrigerators. And in hot places, the power requirement is even more. If the power grid is unreliable, then the challenges will intensify. In such a case, installing generators is the only answer.
With the pressing need to distribute the highly temperature-sensitive COVID19 vaccines, it is now the time to increase everything associated with the cold chain, from cold chain capacity to logistics coordination.
There needs to be the assurance of having enough capacity to keep the new vaccines, preserving their potency.
The existing ultra-cold chain is of far-less capacity to handle the large scale COVID19 vaccine distribution. As such, the ability has to be increased to actuate the vaccine distribution across the globe. It is challenging but not impossible.
Time is the next challenge in COVID19 vaccine distribution. Typically, the journey from the production facility to the healthcare facility can take more than a month. The distribution has to be compressed down to less than a month. The governments also have less time to equip health centers with ultra-cold chain equipment.
But, the challenge will have to be dealt with prudence. And the right way is an excellent level of collaboration. Apart from the cold-chain equipment, human beings are also part of the cold-chain, and they have to work together to do away with the associated challenges.
What is an Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer?
As the name suggests, ultra-low temperature freezers are cold-storages that provide freezing temperatures. Typically, such freezers have a temperature range of -45 degrees C to -86 degrees C and are used for storing items that require such minus degree temperature, such as drugs, enzymes, chemicals, viruses, bacteria, cell preparations, vaccines, and tissue samples, etc.
Such freezers come in several designs with varying sizes. Your choice will depend on how much storage you need and the available space.
You can choose an upright freezer for frequent use as it allows easy access with adjustable interior compartments. It also cools fast after you open and close the door. A chest freezer enables you to store for the long term the items you use less frequently. Besides, there are table-top and under-bench freezers for you to choose.
Everybody on the Earth must get a COVID19 vaccine. Scientists’ dedicated efforts will do no good if the vaccines cannot reach the sections of people who need them. And the pandemic will not go away unless the vaccines go everywhere.