What Happens After a Vaccine is Developed?

The coronavirus has affected many aspects of our daily lives and has created a “new normal” without an end in sight. As we begin to adapt, the number one question remains, “Will we ever get back to the way things were before this pandemic?” One very important piece to this puzzle is the development of a vaccine. Currently, doctors and scientists are expediting timelines for this development process. What can often take years is trying to be accomplished in 18 months or less. More than 115 vaccines are being tested, with several reportedly already in clinical trial.

However, what happens when one is developed?  The logistics of storing and shipping billions of vaccines all around the world is a significant task. And while we don’t know which type of vaccine will prove to be effective, we do know there will be requirements around how to maintain its safety and efficacy.

How do you keep it safe and effective? 

Many common vaccines must be kept at 4°C. It seems likely that the storage and transportation of a COVID-19 vaccine may be similar to this. However, vaccines developed with DNA or RNA need to be stored at much colder temperatures, as low as -80°C. This would complicate transportation and storage to more remote parts of the world.

Storing vaccines at the appropriate temperature is essential to keep them safe and effective – especially with the expected timelines and quantities that are projected. These factors are critical so that you don’t inoculate people with something that doesn’t work, or worse, makes them sick because it has not been kept in the correct temperature range.

How do you monitor it? 

Monitoring the temperature is a critical part of storage and handling. The CDC recommends using only a calibrated digital data logger with a valid certificate of calibration. This certificate guarantees that the monitoring device has been tested for accuracy. Among many recommendations, the CDC summarizes that the digital data loggers have:

  • Accuracy within ±1°F (±0.5°C)
  • Memory for storing at least 4,000 readings
  • Ability to program logging intervals

How do you get it where it needs to be?
In order to the stop spread of the disease, there will need to be billions of doses delivered across the globe. Keeping a vaccine at the proper temperature in the lab or hospital is manageable, but what about storing and delivering it to every corner of the world?  This requires reliable thermal management of the shipments under adverse conditions, as well as consistent monitoring to know that the product was delivered as expected.

These factors are not only critical with the current pandemic, but for any temperature-sensitive medication that needs to move through a supply chain. When evaluating how to do this, it is important to find a partner that understands temperature management and monitoring combined. This guarantees that processes work efficiently, protecting your brand’s integrity.