Operation Warp Speed

Operation Warp Speed

March 15, 2021

Not since World War II and the Manhattan Project, has a project been so important to the world as Operations Warp Speed.  Its goal was to take a process that normally takes years to complete, and bring the COVID-19 vaccine to the world.

As a result of its importance, a public-private effort using many resources sped the development of the vaccine.  Under less urgent circumstances, vaccine development may take up to 10 years, billions of dollars, and have a high failure rate.  Several COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and made ready for distribution in less than one year.

A variety of tactics were applied to the problem.  One is the combination of private/government collaboration.  Additionally, the US Federal Government allocated $10 billion in federal funds to support the effort.

This money allowed organizations to apply funding to crash activities, in order to reduce completion time.  In many cases, activities normally completed in sequential fashion were completed simultaneously, or at least allowed to overlap.  For example, many phases of the clinical trials were overlapped to reduce time.

Also, with government funding, production of the vaccines began before the clinical trials had ended.  Under Continue reading

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Pfizer’s Massive Vaccine Cold Chain

Pfizer’s Massive Vaccine Cold Chain

December 10, 2020

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 Continue reading

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The Vaccine Supply Chain

The Vaccine Supply Chain

July 27, 2020

Many people claim that for the world to return to normal, a successful vaccine must exist.  Tremendous resources are being applied to the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.  Some are even showing sign of success in early trials.

However, the development of the vaccine isn’t the only problem.  A supply chain to deliver the vaccine world-wide will be needed.  This might be more of a challenge than the development of the vaccine.

A vaccine supply chain faces many problems, some of which are unique from the supply chains of normal products.  Yet, finding solutions will be necessary for the world to return to normal.


Video Spotlight: COVID-19 Research and Analysis with Northeastern Experts || Vaccine Supply Chain (June 24, 2020, Northeastern)


This post is based on the European Pharmaceutical Review article, The Extra Mile: Preparing A Supply Chain for A COVID-19 Vaccine, by Madhav Durbha, June 29, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: TRBfoto/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1.  What problems will the vaccine supply chain face?

Guidance: It is not just the vaccine that must be provided.  Vials to store the vaccine, and syringes to Continue reading

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