DHL, McKinsey new paper on delivery of COVID-19 vaccine

By Sean Galea-Pace
DHL, in collaboration with McKinsey, has published a whitepaper on delivering stable logistics for vaccines and medical supplies during COVID-19...

As first emergency use authorisations for COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective during the final quarter of 2020, logistics providers are anticipated to increasingly establish medical supply chains to deliver serums of unparalleled amounts of over 10 billion doses globally. 

There are currently over 250 vaccines across seven platforms being developed and trialled. As COVID-19 vaccines have leapfrogged development phases, stringent temperature requirements of up to -80°C are expected to be imposed for certain vaccines to make sure their efficacy is maintained during transportation and warehousing. This will mean novel logistics challenges to the existing medical supply chain that conventionally distributes vaccines at -2–8°C. In the whitepaper, DHL evaluates how the transport of vaccines as a highly temperature-sensitive product can be managed effectively to combat the further spread of the virus. The scope of this task is significant: to provide global coverage of COVID-19, up to 200,000 pallet shipments and 15 million deliveries in cooling boxes, as well as 15,000 flights will be required across the various supply chain set-ups.

“The COVID-19 crisis emerged with an unprecedented breadth and impact. It required governments, businesses, and the logistics industry alike to adapt quickly to new challenges. As a world leader in logistics, we want to share our experience of operating during one of the biggest health crises in recent history, in order to develop strategies in an ever-more connected world”, explains Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL. “To protect lives against the pandemic, governments have moved towards a more active role in medical supply chains. Over the past few months, we have demonstrated that sufficient planning and appropriate partnerships within the supply chain can play a key role as governments work to secure critical medical supplies during health emergencies such as this.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for medical supplies has accelerated considerably. UNICEF sourced 100 times more face masks and 2,000 times more medical gloves than in 2019. Bringing medical supplies from their distant sources to use at the frontline has one of the most crucial activities in pandemic response management in the initial phase of the health emergency. For PPE specifically, inbound logistics were a major challenge because of geographically concentrated production, limited airfreight capacity and a lack of inbound quality checks. To ensure stable medical supply in a future health crisis, a comprehensive setup of public health crisis strategies and structures must be created by governments with partnerships from both public and private sectors.

To read the full whitepaper, click on the following link.

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