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Cold supply chain biggest challenge for COVID vaccines

The Global Cold Chain Alliance has published a paper by leading refrigeration expert Kostadin Fikiin, who has examined the shortcomings of the global cold chain for the distribution of COVID vaccines. He noted a Deutsche Post DHL report that said that two-thirds of the global population are unlikely to have easy access to any COVID-19 vaccine preserved at freezing temperatures. The lower the temperature, the more troubles and costs are involved.

Before dispatching any vaccine, the Commission and national governments should clarify each country’s cold-chain situation. Wherever necessary, reasonable financial support should be provided – it will be much wiser and cheaper to strengthen the cold chain than to lose large amounts of valuable biotechnology products.

The World Health Organisation has reported that more than half of vaccines are wasted globally because of temperature-control logistics and shipment-related issues.

Kostadin Fikiin is an international R&D project manager at the Technical University of Sofia (Bulgaria); member of the Executive Committee of the International Institute of Refrigeration; Chairman of the EHEDG Working Group ‘Food Refrigeration Equipment’.


Another article published recently by the Global Cold Chain Alliance asks the question 'Can a stressed cold chain successfuilly execute vaccine distribution?'

It notes that refrigerated freight tender rejections are skyrocketing at nearly 46% — a rate that’s seen steady growth since the beginning of COVID-19’s influence on consumer eating and shopping habits.

Last month, the International Air Transport Association announced that 8,000 dedicated 747 jumbo jets were needed to distribute the 9 billion vaccines worldwide over the next two years. Eventually, those vaccines will be packed into temperature-controlled trucks that require close monitoring.