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High-quality cold chain is critical in vaccine distribution


Recent news around promising COVID-19 vaccine trials have lifted vaccine distribution to the spotlight. It requires special expertise, as vaccines typically require cold temperature conditions. Oriola has years of experience from vaccine distribution, and we are currently strengthening our cold chain capabilities even further.

During the autumn, vaccines have been frequent topic in public discussion. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for seasonal influenza vaccines significantly, while the first promising news from COVID-19 vaccine trials have spread worldwide. This has also drawn attention to future solutions for vaccine distribution.

In general, vaccine distribution requires solid expertise, as vaccines typically require stable cold temperature conditions during storage and transport. We use a validated transport box for cold deliveries, in which the inner temperature must be between 2 to 8 degrees. Time will tell what the specifications for COVID-19 vaccine or vaccines are, but we have the capability to answer to the challenge. In vaccines, safe and reliable distribution is the key in securing the high-quality products for people,” notes Nicklas Widding, Director of Business Unit Distribution at Oriola.

Oriola distributes majority of all vaccines in Sweden

Oriola has extensive experience from vaccine distribution. In Sweden, the majority of all vaccines pass through us. We deliver vaccines to vaccine clinics, healthcare, childcare and schools. This year, we distributed all influenza vaccines intended for adults in Sweden.

Influenza vaccines are special products, as large number of volumes are delivered in a short time frame. This year, we distributed more than 1.8 million doses in a few months. With future COVID-19 vaccine in mind, this is a great example of our ability to handle exceptional volumes fast in a safe and reliable manner,” Widding says.

New cold chain technology to boost reliability and cut emissions

In addition to vaccines, we handle many other pharmaceuticals requiring cold conditions. During 2020, we have worked to further develop our cold chain in our distribution centres in Sweden and Finland. By taking use more modern technology, we can increase both operational reliability and the storage capacity for cold products and speciality pharmaceuticals. The new technology has also environmental benefits, as it decreases emissions and energy usage.

The renewal covers both cold facilities and transport boxes. In Sweden, the new boxes are already in use, and in Finland usage starts early 2021. The new transport boxes have better isolation and modern cold shields, which keep the temperature more stable and controlled up to 30 hours at minimum.

This brings more flexibility to the deliveries, as they are less time sensitive, which reduces impact of potential delays in transport. The boxes are also more spacious, which reduces the number of boxes we deliver to our customers,” Widding says.