DHL commissioned to manage COVID-19 vaccine logistics

By Georgia Wilson
DHL has been commissioned by the German federal state to manage the logistics for the COVID-19 vaccine...

In a recent announcement made by DHL, the company has been commissioned by the German federal state to manage the logistics for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Due to its federal structure, responsibility for vaccination management lies with the 16 individual states. The state of Lower Saxony has become one of the first German federal states to commission DHL Supply Chain to store and transport roughly 2.2mn doses of the new COVID-19 vaccines, as well as 350 pallets of vaccination equipment at two of the states certified Life Science Healthcare locations.

"A specialty of this contract is that the new mRNA vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer has to be stored at extremely low temperatures. Storage and distribution at -70 degrees Celsius present a challenge. Only a handful of logistics companies possess the cooling and transport capacity to accommodate such low temperature range. But in anticipation, we have invested early on to expand our deep freezer farms and cold storage facilities. This first contract with a German state government, to manage COVID-19 vaccines logistics in the State of Lower Saxony, highlights the decisive role that Deutsche Post DHL Group will play in fighting the Corona pandemic," commented Oscar de Bok, CEO DHL Supply Chain and Member of the Board of Management at Deutsche Post DHL Group.

The vaccine doses will be picked and prepared for transport from its two locations, with plans to store the doses at different temperature ranges. In addition to having the capacity to store the vaccine at -70 degrees celsius, DHL also has cooling capacity to store at -20 degrees, two or eight degrees celsius.

"The preparations for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations represent a huge organizational challenge on many different levels. Therefore I'm delighted that the state government of Lower Saxony has signed a contract with DHL Supply Chain to put the entire vaccine logistics on a reliable and professional basis. The logistics are thus prepared. DHL will store both the vaccine supplies and the vaccines on our behalf and ensure that vaccination centers and hospitals across the state are supplied with the vaccines," added Dr. Carola Reimann (SPD), Minister of Health of the State of Lower Saxony.

For more information on procurement, supply chain and logistics topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital.

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