Monitoring Cold Chains in Vaccine Roll-Outs
More than half of all vaccine doses are unusable due to mishandling in storage and transit. How can Identiv’s RFID-based technology reduce vaccine waste? An article by: Dr. Manfred Mueller, Identiv GM Transponders
High Demand for Optimized Cold Chains amid Covid-19 Pandemic
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 50 % of vaccines lose their efficacy globally every year due to the lack of proper temp control, logistics, or shipment related issues. While COVID-19 spotlights the need to keep vaccines cold, pharmaceutical temperature control – typically referred to as the vaccine cold chain – has been a well-recognized challenge in the healthcare world for many years.
Every vaccine distributed in the last few decades has required some form of temperature regulation. While temperature and distribution challenges are familiar, they have been exaggerated in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as many of these novel mRNA vaccines require extreme temperature regulation.
It is relatively easier to keep vaccines stable in storage, but meeting environmental requirements in transit is even more challenging. During transit, packages face temperature fluctuation, vibrational shock, impact and jostling due to the carrier’s movement.
Packaging solutions that impact drug efficacy, durability, and shelf life must be used on both primary and secondary packaging structures to retain as many usable doses as possible.
Vaccine temperature requirements vary slightly by manufacturer:
- Pfizer’s vaccine requires most storage from -70 °C to -10 °C. The CDC recommends shipping this in an ultra-cold freezer that reaches -80 °C.
- Moderna’s vaccine requires storage from -25 °C to -15 °C, more on par with typical household or medical freezers.
- Other vaccine candidates (like Astrazeneca, Novavax, and J&J) require anywhere from -20 °C to 8 °C.
Pharmaceutical temperature control – typically referred to as the vaccine cold chain – has been a well-recognized challenge in the healthcare world for many years. These have been exaggerated in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as many of these novel mRNA vaccines require extreme temperature regulation.