Vaccine Distribution to Strain Capacity and Create Disruptions Across Supply Chain

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1Q 2021 | IN-6043


Exponential Complexity and Scale


There are fifty COVID-19 vaccine candidates in trials per the World Health Organization (WHO). However, there remains uncertainty as to how this will impact the global supply chain, including specific requirements for air cargo capacity, vital trade lanes, quality control, and track and trace. Rural areas in developed countries and developing countries will struggle with ultra-low temperature requirements, distribution of smaller quantities, and qualified transport and medical personnel. No one company can own the full end-to-end supply chain for vaccines, even within a given country. Initial plans in the U.S. to vaccinate 20 million citizens has fallen far short with only ~10% of that goal complete 48 hours prior to the end of 2020.

Transport Conditions and Capacity Challenges


At least one early vaccine (Pfizer) requires ultra-low temperatures, as low as –70°C (–94°F). This is caused by a lack of sufficient storage documentation for these new types of Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. The containers used to s…

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