How are the cold chain companies in India gearing up for COVID immunization?

How are the cold chain companies in India gearing up for COVID immunization?

November 3, 2020 Gubba Group

From planning to convert food processing refrigerated units into vaccine storage facilities to ramping up the vehicles to transport them, private cold chain and distribution firms have begun preparing capacities ahead of India’s July 2021 target to begin immunising its population against Covid-19.

While the government continues to map cold chain capabilities for a Covid-19 vaccine roll out next year, some industry experts feel that the current capacity will have to at least be doubled. Given the demand, India’s existing Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) infrastructure– which will be used to vaccinate the priority groups identified by the government–may need more private sector involvement, some feel.

While private firms wait to be roped in, they have already begun preparing for such a scenario. For instance, Gubba Pharma Cold Storage has undertaken an exercise to understand what would be required if the firm had to convert over 30 of its cold chain units for storing food into a vaccine storage facility.

Transporting the vaccines safely to the masses will be one of the biggest hurdles to cross, once the vaccine has been developed, as they require very specific temperature conditions, some as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius.

Planes, trucks, cold storage units will have to equip themselves to transport and maintain vaccines at such low temperatures and glass vials, containers with the vaccines will also need to be packaged to withstand such icy conditions. A huge quantity. of dry ice will also be needed. Vaccine storage and transportation might just be the biggest pandora box of issues after the vaccine’s production and safety trials.

The bulk of vaccines in India will be distributed by the Centre’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) mechanism, and private cold chain companies will also be part of the transportation process. According to a report by the Mint, all available operators in the country will be required to deliver the vaccines. 

Whenever a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available, India potentially has two advantages: Indian companies already supply the bulk of vaccines to the world, and India already conducts one of the world’s largest immunisation programmes for children and mothers. India plans to immunise 200-250 million people–a sixth of its population–with 400-500 million Covid-19 vaccine shots by July 2021, the health minister announced on October 4. Vulnerable population groups including healthcare workers will be prioritised in the first round. 

Does India have a logistical advantage to manufacture and distribute enough vaccines to Indians? Are India’s existing mother and child vaccine programme a backbone strong enough to bear the weight of a mass Covid-19 vaccination effort? Life of a life-saving drug can go dead with improper preservation. Pharma Cold Storage (Pharma Page) at Gubba preserves the vitality of pharma and biological drugs and hence ensures product integrity conditions for your drugs. Gubba Pharma Cold Storage is a research-based company with a robust refrigeration system and technology and supports you in nullifying your losses due to product compromise from temperature fluctuations.

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