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Global Supply Chain Considerations for Shipping COVID-19 Vaccine

Typically, prediction precedes preparation, but when it comes to developing a supply chain strategy to distribute life-saving COVID-19 vaccines to global populations, time is of the essence. A recent Crain’s Chicago Business article explored the many challenges that face supply chain professionals responsible for distributing a prospective COVID-19 vaccine and any plans currently in the works.

With dozens of vaccines currently moving quickly through testing phases, supply chain professionals have started exploring methods for shipping life-saving immunizations quickly, safely and cost-effectively. Some of the key considerations for shippers, manufacturers and other industry professionals include:

  • Scale: To effectively combat the virus, a vaccine must be distributed widely to the world’s populations, requiring a global, cross-border shipping strategy. According to Crain’s, it will take approximately 8,000 cargo planes to transport enough vaccines to protect half of the global population – a feat that will require precise coordination from production to delivery. Leveraging multiple carrier services, including local and regional carriers, and experimenting with new delivery modes may be required to attain the global scale of this crucial endeavor.
  • Distribution: The COVID-19 pandemic has put the airline industry in disarray and stymied many large manufacturing hubs, creating numerous supply chain challenges. With this in mind, considerations need to be made for distributing the vaccine to remote, indigent populations that may be harder to reach, which may require special technology and options for flexible last-mile delivery. Drones serve as one option for delivering vaccines to these areas, though getting the medicine to those in need will likely require a mix of transportation modes.
  • Shipping conditions: Transporting vaccines require a complex set of protective measures, including precise refrigeration settings and advanced technology to keep the inoculations intact. To maintain a vaccine’s efficacy, health officials have cited that a temperature setting of 35.6 to 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit needs to be ensured throughout the shipping process.

While there’s no way to predict the unknown, looking ahead at how COVID-19 vaccines could make their way through the supply chain is a reminder of how complex shipping scenarios can be simplified with the right software. As explored in our recent eBook, React, Recover, Prepare: Future-Proofing Supply Chain Management, moving towards a proactive strategy created with future challenges in mind is a must for supply chain resilience through the pandemic and beyond.

ebook logistyx future-proofing-supply-chainAs the industry continues to prepare for supply chain challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the race for a vaccine, Logistyx can equip organizations with best-of-breed parcel shipping software to handle even the most multifaceted logistics scenarios, just as we helped Gilead Sciences fast-track the shipping process of its investigational coronavirus treatment.

Contact us today to learn more about how Logistyx’s cloud TMS for parcel shipping can help increase supply chain agility.