Vaccines are fragile biological substances that reduce in quality and safety if exposed to temperatures outside of the appropriate temperature range. Failure to follow vaccine handling and cold chain guidelines may result in a lack of defense against COVID-19. Cold chain temperature excursions result in a cumulative, severe, and irreversible loss of vaccine efficacy. Since the majority of vaccines must be kept cold but not frozen. Simply put, the cold chain poses many challenges in practice. Especially during vaccine distribution in remote areas where power is intermittent.
Cold Chain Storage Challenges
- Electricity. Refrigerators and freezers use a lot of electricity. In hot climates, ultra-cold freezers need even more fuel. When you add in an unstable power supply the issues with maintaining the cold chain get worse.
- Storage Capacity. The world’s existing cold chain capability is still in use to a large extent. We’re talking about giving everyone on the planet at least one if not two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, each of the leading candidates needs two doses, three weeks apart and the other four weeks apart. So there’ll be a time-sensitive doubling of almost everything, cold-chain capability, logistics coordination, and so on. We will need to make sure there is enough room to accommodate all these latest COVID-19 vaccine doses without displacing important vaccines that are already stored in the cold chain.
- Time. With vaccine distribution, time is also a significant issue. It takes months to get from the factory to the point of treatment, on average four to six months. Since there is an urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccine, delivery will be rushed—hopefully within a month or less. While this may mean faster delivery, it also means that governments would have much less time to supply healthcare facilities and distribution networks with ultra-cold chain equipment.
- Damaged Cooler Doors. Damaged cooler and freezer doors are among the most common issues that cold storage facilities face. Damaged freezer doors have the immediate effect of being unable to maintain the desired temperature. It’s a big deal and that’s what it’s all about. The damages to these cold storage industrial doors can result in spoiled food or hamper vaccine distribution if not handled. But it can also lead to other common problems in the cold chain that can impact worker safety, customer safety, and eventually business relationships and the bottom line.
- Condensation Buildup. In coolers and freezers, condensation buildup is a common issue in facilities that perform both warm and cool processes. If a product moves from one temperature to the next too fast, it may produce an excessive amount of moisture. This can result in slick surfaces, which can be hazardous to staff, as well as product spoilage, which can put customers’ health at risk.
- Microbial Growth. Mold and mildew growth are other common issues in industrial freezers. This problem can be caused by mismanaged temperatures or faulty freezer doors. Freezer walls, but, can help prevent microbial growth and particulate build-up if they’re kept clean. The following are some of the most effective methods to keep mold out of commercial freezers:
- keeping spills out of freezers
- using lubrication-free parts and tapering freezer surfaces
If freezer mold develops, make sure to thoroughly clean the freezer to prevent any potential issues that could jeopardize the safety and integrity of your cold chain production.
So, what are the necessary things you need to follow to maintain the potency of the vaccines during the distribution?
First, You Need to Inspect
Facilities storing COVID-19 vaccine in freezer storage units. You can hire a licensed company to perform regular inspections (including temperature calibration) and routine maintenance on the freezer storage units. A copy of these facility inspections can be meant to confirm that vaccine storage and handling procedures are followed.
Second, Track Vaccine Storage Unit Temperature
To ensure the protection of the vaccine supply, regular monitoring of vaccine storage equipment and temperatures is needed. To avoid vaccine loss, facilities should incorporate regular testing activities to rapidly detect out-of-range temperatures and take prompt action to correct them.
Third, Use Intelligent Sensors
Temperature shifts are visible in real-time thanks to technology-enabled tracking and monitoring sensors. There is no way to know what happens to the temperature once pharmaceutical materials leave the laboratories or manufacturing facilities without sensors. Intelligent sensors can not only detect temperature for items like the COVID-19 vaccine. But also of high value, vulnerable to robbery, fraud, and sabotage. In this case, they also help near-real-time monitoring during transport, sending position and product quality data regularly. Real-time warnings enable corrective measures. Such as advising responsible partners in the supply chain or changing transport scheduling in the event of temperature variance during transport, delay, or whether the shipment left the intended corridor due to eventual theft.
Fourth, Vaccine Distribution Proper Storage and Handling
Vaccine supply chain capability and credibility are based on the availability of vaccine components and support facilities such as vials and syringes. Also, of cold-chain management, distribution strategies, and proper storage. Storage techniques must be used to ensure the best shelf-life capability. And then mitigate depletion and waste of what will possibly be limited stock of COVID-19 vaccines to have an effective vaccine distribution. The ability to track and control vaccine delivery at the organizational, regional, federal, and international levels is another essential feature of judicious vaccine allotment. COVID-19 vaccines must be tracked and traced. In a way that encourages real-time, accurate monitoring while minimizing reporting inefficiencies.
Where to Seek Professional Help?
AKCP offers a full end-to-end monitoring solution. You can ensure that your cold chain is tracked at every phase with NIST traceable, calibrated temperature sensors, wired and wireless sensors, and data loggers. AKCPro Server central management software allows you to view your entire refrigerated network online.
AKCP has also announced a solution for vaccine transport. And storage control using their Wireless Tunnel™ infrastructure. The particular needs of the mass delivery of temperature-sensitive vaccines have been addressed by AKCP. Which has over 30 years of experience in specialized sensor solutions. The distributor and vaccine stakeholders will see their entire supply chain with the AKCPro Server.
The AKCP Pharma-Mon Server is an example of a modern solution. It’s a cloud-based IoT platform for monitoring and tracking vaccines from the manufacturer to the warehouse to medical facilities, by shipment, carton, or individual vial. It has a user interface that allows you to keep track of the temperature, see detailed graphs of vaccine history, and total time spent outside of cold storage.
It works by:
- Keeping track of where the vaccines are in the cold chain. View live location data as well as temperature data when in transit or storage. Stock is transferred, bulk shipments are broken up, and warehouses or storage facilities are assigned.
- Graphing data. Pharma-Mon Server records data in real-time. Data synchronizes and graphs are generated while in range of a Wireless Tunnel Gateway. Many sensors are overlaid, and temperature excursions are illustrated.
To optimize population security from SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 vaccines should be set to deliver effectively. It needs a tremendous effort to organize, train, and mobilize an immunization workforce. While also implementing the vaccine supply chain’s essential infrastructure.
The global cold chain logistics industry faces enormous difficulties in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. They need the meticulous handling of billions of doses all over the world. Getting vaccines from the manufacturer to storage facilities in the country is the beginning. The depletion of vaccines and their effectiveness can be minimized by introducing the AKCP vaccine distribution and storage monitoring solution.
The AKCP Wireless Tunnel vaccine monitoring system is available now. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
How Digital Solutions Support The Distribution Of Vaccines