Pfizer’s Massive Vaccine Cold Chain

December 10, 2020
Pfizer’s Massive Vaccine Cold Chain

Pfizer is building an ambitious supply chain and distribution system to deliver hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine to vaccination sites in three days.

The vaccine is manufactured in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Puurs, Belgium at a rate of 7.6 million doses daily.  Shipping containers that can keep the loaded doses at a temperature of -100 Fahrenheit for up to 10 days are used to transport doses from the manufacturing sites to nearby airports as cargo on planes from FedEx, UPS, and DHL.

These carriers are also responsible for trucking doses from airports to vaccination sites such as hospitals.

Video Spotlight: 

This post is based on the Fierce Pharma article, Planes, trucks and ultracold boxes: Pfizer preps massive COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort, by Eric Sagonowsky, October 21, 2020; the NPR article, Why Does Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Need To Be Kept Colder Than Antarctica?, by Selena Simmons-Duffin, November 17, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Wright Studio/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. Is Pfizer’s vaccine supply chain transparent?  Explain.

Guidance: Pfizer’s vaccine supply chain has a high degree of transparency because it is important to know how  the doses of vaccine are made and track the doses from manufacturing to vaccination sites to ensure the integrity and speedy delivery of the vaccine.

2.  What considerations are accounted for in Pfizer’s vaccine supply chain?

Guidance: The manufacturing sites must be capable of making 7.6 million doses of the vaccine per day.  The doses must be delivered to vaccination sites in three days.  The doses also must be transported and stored in a -100oF container for up to 10 days.  Logistic carriers must be able to provide cargo planes and trucks to move the doses from the manufacturing to vaccination sites.


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