I talked to my mother today. Like many conversations these days the big topic was the corona virus. My mother is in the high-risk category. I am, too.
With the covid-19 vaccine announcements by Moderna and Pfizer this past week she’s on cloud nine. More are sure to follow. The mainstream media seems to be treating the ensuing supply chain challenges facing us as an afterthought.
They’re overlooking risk. Designing the distribution network that supply chain professionals will erect is a formidable challenge. Scientific American published an article this week on the ramp-up and rollout of the ‘little glass vials.”
“Multiple steps are needed to deliver so many little glass vials of vaccine to local hospitals and pharmacies, where the medication can be injected into a person’s arm. Moderna’s vaccine has to be shipped at –20 degrees Celsius (–4 degrees Fahrenheit), and it can then be stored at that temperature for six months. Once thawed and kept in a refrigerator between two and eight degrees C (36 to 46 degrees F) it is good for up to 30 days. Pfizer’s vaccine must be kept at –70 degrees C (–94 degrees F)— a much greater challenge. Once transferred to a refrigerator, it must be administered within five days.”
The last mile problem is often a tactical nightmare. Add to that the refrigeration requirements and we are now facing a formidable supply chain challenge.
We’ll get it done, but don’t be surprised if it’s a bumpy ride.