COVID-19 vaccine – how will Africa keep it cold enough?

While we await the first vaccines to either arrive in the country via air, or under licence from local manufactured sources, there remains another obstacle. The so-called cold supply chain that needs to remain intact when delivering the COVID-19 vaccine to all corners of the country.

The temperatures needed for preservation of the vaccine vary, and in some cases need to go well below 0°C. If it is not so, the vaccine will breakdown and become unfit for human use by the time it reaches the patient. While this distribution might be easier for countries like Europe or USA, it may be a mammoth logistical challenge for Africa.

A generic image of a vaccine for human use
The AstraZeneca vaccine is most suitable for countries in the sub-continent as it requires average fridge temperatures of 2°C to 8°C

Shipping and cold storage challenges

South Africa has recorded more than 1.4 million coronavirus infections, the highest number on the African continent, and more than 42 000 deaths. To reach the population, vaccine delivery will need to travel from manufacturing facilities, both local and international, to storage and distribution, and onto healthcare facilities countrywide.

Amongst all, the AstraZeneca vaccine is most suitable for countries in the sub-continent as it requires average fridge temperatures of 2°C to 8°C. According to reports, 20mn AstraZeneca vaccines have been secured by the South African government for roll out in the first half of 2021. 

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, from its point of manufacture to the patient, cannot be removed from a temperature of -70°C more than four times. This is different for the Moderna vaccine, which can be stored for six months at -20°C for shipping and long-term storage, and at standard refrigeration temperatures of 2°C to 8°C for 30 days.

In addition, local vaccine research is underway with the aim of developing a vaccine for the South African strain of COVID-19, which has five new mutations of the Wuhan parent strain.  This is seen as a necessity as it is still being ascertained how effective the imported vaccine on the current strain spreading in South Africa.

Temperature-sensitive solutions for cold storage

Labotec has been at the forefront of delivering time- and temperature-sensitive solutions for many years. Its specialists have already explored the best options for the COVID-19 vaccine, and there is a comprehensive strategy available for this.

The strategy includes equipment from the Forma Thermo Scientific range of high-performance freezers and fridges built for pharmaceutical applications, which are ideal for vaccine storage. Elcold freezers from Norway as well as Thermo Scientific and Ebro data loggers for monitoring temperature in-transit or between warehouses are also proposed.

Thermo Scientific QC managed cold storage

These products are designed to support the temperature requirements of pharmaceuticals and vaccine manufacturing, distribution and storage worldwide. This Thermo Scientific range delivers safe and reliable vaccine storage while supporting accreditation and quality management standards.

The cold storage range includes the TSX series high-performance under-counter lab refrigerators with temperature range 2°C to 8°C. For clinical and vaccine storage that requires -20°C to -40°C, Thermo Scientific TSX series high-performance auto defrost freezers are designed with features that support sample protection and sustainability objectives.  The Thermo Scientific Forma FDE series ultra-low freezers -80°C are powered by H-drive and feature four upright models, maximising storage capacity from 30 000 up to 60 000 2mL vials.

Elcold freezers meet vaccine challenges

Elcold’s VAC freezer covers the storage requirements of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines and can operate in wide range from -20° C to -70°C. Their important features include a high capacity and small footprint, quality for price where you will get a top-quality freezer and they are based on complex technology that is tried and tested with similar products in the market for 15 years.

Data loggers for safe transport and storage

An accurate temperature history and continuous monitoring of temperatures are critical to protecting the vaccines. In this instance, dependable data loggers are less costly than replacing wasted vaccines.

The Ebro and Thermo Scientific ranges feature easy-to-use data loggers with USB plugs. These are a safe and optimal solution for the monitoring of vaccines and remedies during transport and storage.

Given these cold storage solutions and wherever the eventual source, the collective challenge of safe vaccine delivery to all nine provinces will still need a carefully orchestrated cold chain management plan.



Latest


26 Feb 2021
Melcura HoneyGel revolutionises at-home wound care

Medika SA trading as the Melcura brand, a trusted and well-established wound care brand that has been based in hospitals…

Melcura HoneyGel revolutionises at-home wound care

Medika SA trading as the Melcura brand, a trusted and well-established wound care brand that has been based in hospitals for over 15 years, has finally launched online and at select local pharmacies. Melcura products are a crucial component in one’s arsenal for fast, complete wound healing when an accident…

25 Feb 2021
Environ is named Top Medical Skincare Line of the Decade

Environ Skin Care has won the award for Top Medical Skincare Line of the Decade. With a long list of…

Environ is named Top Medical Skincare Line of the Decade

Environ Skin Care has won the award for Top Medical Skincare Line of the Decade. With a long list of over 100 highly esteemed recognitions received for outstanding products worldwide, South African born, globally recognised professional brand Environ Skin Care has been on an international winning streak the past few…

25 Feb 2021
Adcock Ingram reports resilient trading performance despite COVID-19 challenges

The Adcock Ingram Group has achieved a 4% increase in turnover for the six month period to 31 December 2020.…

Adcock Ingram reports resilient trading performance despite COVID-19 challenges

The Adcock Ingram Group has achieved a 4% increase in turnover for the six month period to 31 December 2020. The company achieved these results despite challenging trading conditions caused by COVID-19, a depressed economy and decline in demand for certain categories of medicine and products. Performance metrics include: •         …

24 Feb 2021
Virtual conference drives the goal to buy Africa for Africa

The Made in Africa Conference and Expo will be the largest ever virtual gathering of and showcase of African buyers…

Virtual conference drives the goal to buy Africa for Africa

The Made in Africa Conference and Expo will be the largest ever virtual gathering of and showcase of African buyers and sellers, taking place on 13 and 14 April 2021.   With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing African nations to develop local solutions to the continent’s challenges, the time has come…


Top stories


25 Jun 2020
How to ensure business agility in a pandemic

BY: Neil Birch, CEO at Novus Holdings Business agility is the capability of a business to respond quickly to a…

How to ensure business agility in a pandemic

BY: Neil Birch, CEO at Novus Holdings Business agility is the capability of a business to respond quickly to a changing environment, whether it be internal or external. Qualities of agile businesses include being adaptive, flexible and creative in your response to change without losing momentum (remaining productive) or vision.…

01 May 2020
Fibertex manufactures critical components for COVID-19 PPE

Fibertex SA, part of the global Fibertex Nonwovens group, has developed versatile high-performance components for protective facemasks and respirators. “Fibertex,…

Fibertex manufactures critical components for COVID-19 PPE

Fibertex SA, part of the global Fibertex Nonwovens group, has developed versatile high-performance components for protective facemasks and respirators. “Fibertex, which continuously invests in technological advancements to meet requirements in diverse industries – has increased production capacity of materials so desperately needed during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Rosa Naidoo,…

23 Apr 2020
Are you South Africa’s best female entrepreneur?

Entries are now open for the Santam Women of the Future Awards 2020 in association with Fairlady and True Love.…

Are you South Africa’s best female entrepreneur?

Entries are now open for the Santam Women of the Future Awards 2020 in association with Fairlady and True Love. Santam, Fairlady and, for the first time this year, Truelove Magazine, have partnered up in the search to find the best female entrepreneurs in the country. Best women entrepreneurs If…

30 Nov 2017
Rooibos could reduce risk of “Type 3” diabetes – a precursor to Alzheimer’s

Researchers at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in the US found a link between a relatively new form…

Rooibos could reduce risk of “Type 3” diabetes – a precursor to Alzheimer’s

Researchers at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in the US found a link between a relatively new form of diabetes, known as “type 3” diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za