t is not an exaggeration to say that every time you look at the news, coronavirus vaccines are front and center. Where the reports used to be all about the development of vaccines, the focus has shifted to producing them and getting them to millions of people. Vaccine delivery is entirely reliant on the transportation industry.
The Supply Chain
You need more than a vaccine to mount a vaccination campaign. You need vials to put it in, syringes to inject it with, and factories to manufacture both. Those supplies then need to get to the vaccine manufacturer.
Whether shipping by ground or air, the transportation industry is going to need to manage the logistics of this increased production. Vials do no good if they’re sitting on the factory loading dock.
Some trucking regulations have been eased to allow drivers to respond to emergency supply chain demands and companies are working together to address this potential transportation bottleneck.
Vaccine Transportation and Delivery
The greater challenge is in moving the vaccines themselves. The two vaccines currently approved in the U.S. require ultra-cold (Pfizer) and refrigerated (Moderna) transport. Trucks and planes need to be outfitted with proper storage before any vaccine can be shipped.
That is a significant logistical hurdle that’s been anticipated for months. Operation Warp Speed and the Department of Transportation made sure that freight regulations allow the proper shipping conditions for vaccines as well as ensuring sufficient personnel to drive or pilot the vehicles.
Last but certainly not least is the massive undertaking of getting vaccines to every corner of the globe. Large trucks and planes will be replaced by smaller vehicles reaching rural and other remote areas safely.
COVID-19 vaccine distribution is the largest challenge the modern transportation industry has ever seen and we are confident that we will all fulfill our role in this critical mission.