Why Optimized Cold-Chains Could Save a Billion Covid Vaccines

Photo by Sanofi Pasteur / Patrick Boulen

Most vaccines must be kept at a narrow temperature range between two and eight degrees centigrade in order to remain effective.  The COVID-19 vaccine, when it comes, is likely to be no different.

Transporting vaccines from labs to everyone who needs them across countries and continents requires a system of refrigeration that works every step of the journey.  A single transport leg or storage port that isn’t temperature controlled will break the so-called ‘cold-chain’ and can decrease the potency of the vaccine to the point it is rendered ineffective. 

Scientific assessment indicates that 70 per cent of the global population might need a COVID-19 vaccine within a tight frame, a scale that will overwhelm the systems currently in place to distribute vaccines safely. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 50% of vaccines are wasted globally every year; a large part because of lack of temperature control and the logistics to support an unbroken cold-chain. At the scale of COVID-19, this spoilage rate could waste potentially a billion vaccines, which, even if valued at a non-profit cost of around $10 a vaccine, represents a staggering wasted investment. Read more…

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