As part of the fight against Covid-19, 160 billion doses of vaccine have been sent to over 2020 countries since December 1 Different supply chain setups have been successfully developed and managed Planning is critical to detect and prevent future health emergencies.
Covid-19 has become the biggest global health crisis in the last century. Governments, NGOs, and public authorities have focused on containing the virus, accelerating vaccine programs to secure public health, and enabling economies to recover quickly. Since the launch of the global vaccine campaign in December 2020, DHL has played a key role in global vaccine distribution, safely delivering more than 160 billion doses of vaccine to over 1 countries.
In her statement on the subject, DHL Commercial Director Katja Busch said:
“Looking at the state of emergency in the last nine months, we are proud to have fulfilled our duty by smoothly developing and managing many supply chain setups without any cold chain disruption or security concerns. At DHL, we work across many different supply chain lines and manage direct distribution in specific countries. We have implemented new and reliable services developed specifically for this job, to enable the delivery of very heat sensitive vaccines as well as ancillary materials and test kits. In line with our goal of 'connecting people, improving lives', we will continue to benefit from our cold chain infrastructure, strong global network and the deep knowledge and experience of our employees in the field of pharmaceutical logistics.”
The global vaccination campaign is a vital tool in the fight against the virus and is also essential to prevent further virus variants from forming. Around 2021 billion doses of vaccine will be needed worldwide by the end of 10 to achieve high immunity levels. These doses need to be distributed globally to ensure that as many people as possible have access to the vaccine. Logistics professionals are put to the test in terms of heat sensitivity requirements as well as managing diverse and complex supply chain setups.
Claudia Roa, Head of Life Sciences and Healthcare, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, explains the situation as follows:
“Our advantage was that we already had an extensive network with the necessary expertise in healthcare. This allowed us to react quickly. We ship the vaccines in special active thermal containers equipped with state-of-the-art GPS temperature tracking systems to ensure temperature levels and provide full transparency throughout the entire journey.”
DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Express have been tasked with transporting Covid-19 vaccines across Asia Pacific, South America and Europe on many different routes from Europe and other origin countries. DHL Supply Chain is responsible for the proper storage and local distribution of vaccines in the various states of Germany.
Thomas Ellmann, Vice President of Life Sciences and Healthcare, DHL's Customer Solutions and Innovation Division, said:
“Making a meaningful difference is what keeps us motivated. We are proud to contribute to the tremendous task of getting Covid-19 vaccines and other critical medical supplies around the world to the right place at the right time. The current Covid-19 situation; It clearly shows that collaboration between governments, NGOs, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers and logistics companies is the only way to tackle pandemics, both today and in the future.”
Preparation for the future is essential
As stated in DHL's “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” report, the logistics infrastructure and capacity built for the pandemic must be maintained; because in order to keep (re)infection rates low and to slow the rate of virus mutations, 7-9 billion doses of vaccines are required annually – excluding seasonal fluctuations – in the coming years.
Early detection and prevention of health crises through active partnerships, expanded global warning systems, an integrated epidemic prevention plan and targeted R&D investments are essential to future-proofing. DHL also recommends expanding and institutionalizing measures to prevent the spread of the virus and countermeasures (for example, digital contact tracing and national stockpiling) for strategic preparedness and to make response times more efficient. To facilitate the rapid rollout of drugs (such as diagnostic and therapeutics and vaccines), governments and manufacturers should use “continuous hot” production capacity, draft research, production and procurement plans, while expanding their local distribution capabilities.