Stronger Delivery System for Immunization Supply Chains: An Advocacy
The drive for an improved and efficient delivery system for vital vaccines
Why is it imperative to have stronger delivery system for immnization supply chains? Vaccines are a vital life-saving tool that can halt the spread of deadly diseases. But their efficacy is heavily reliant on the supply chains that deliver them to the masses at the critical time, place, and temperature. Decrepit immunization supply chains (cold chain logistics) can put the vaccines in jeopardy, decreasing their potency and putting people at risk who need them.
Cold chain logistics is the delivery system used that maintains the vaccines within the temperature constraints (typically 2°C to 8°C / 35°F to 468F). All links in the chain should remain unbroken so the vaccines are kept within the World Health Organization (W.H.O) recommended temperature ranges. This is required from the manufacturing stage right through to last-mile delivery and the administration stage. Monitoring this procedure ensures that the cold chain is properly maintained, and the vaccines delivered to the patient are in usable, and effective condition.
To maintain a reliable vaccine cold chain outside the pharmaceutical company, key procedures must be followed:
- store vaccines within the required temperature range at all sites
- pack and transport vaccines to and from designated sites in the prescribed manner
- Keeping the vaccines within the pre-conditioned temperatures during the immunization sessions.
Vaccines are delicate pharmaceutical products. Some vaccines are vulnerable to freezing, some to heat, and others to light. Temperature excursions strike at the potency of the vaccine and Its ability to immunize the patient is diminished.
To keep this from happening, it must be handled in the established procedures. To maintain the vaccine’s condition, it should be kept and transported in a cold chain that meets specific temperature requirements. It’s critical to the personnel handling the vaccines to know the proper temperatures and their vulnerabilities.
The need to upgrade the system
The old system of the cold chains is in need of a serious upgrade. The system used in less developed countries has been in place since the 1980s. Vaccine technology has advanced in leaps and bounds to eliminate the countless diseases from those countries. It’s not just vaccines, new biologics and gene-based therapy treatments are increasing and have stricter temperature control requirements than vaccines.
Modern vaccines are available to a wide range of people with various age groups serving a larger populace. But the obsolete cold chains can’t keep up to deliver the vaccines due to outdated regulations, frequent out of stock vaccines, expired medicines, and erratic data from the vaccine delivery. These can endanger the health of the beneficiaries, especially children.
A more dependable immunization delivery system can be tracked and professionally handled. The companies concerned are now using the latest hardware cooling apparatus and ensure the smooth running of the system. Thus, guaranteeing that vaccines are reaching all the children and adults in far reaches of the world, who need them.
Modern technologies and dynamic managing strategies are being adopted in countries around the world. But there are there are countries that still need to improve the cold chain delivery of vaccines. What is missing in many of those is the political will from all levels of the government whether global, regional, national, and subnational. The will to adapt and enforce the new delivery protocols of the cold chains.
Getting the various governments to cooperate
PATH is advocating the countries’ top political leadership for the improvement of the immunization supply chains and then strategies to deliver the needed vaccines to their people.
PATH work on the global and regional scale, especially in Africa, to aid in the efficient delivery and improvement of the immunization cold chains and the coordination problems. Most recently, PATH worked in Uganda and Senegal making sure that the cold chain is in line with the local country’s policies and rules.
PATH is closely associated with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s Immunization Supply Chain Strategy, and the WHO/UNICEF Hub for Immunization Supply Chains. Their extensive background in creating, assessing, and giving resolutions to the health supply chains and handling gives us the opportunity to advocate for the improvement of the present supply chain.