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As the effort to develop a Covid-19 vaccine nears approval, packaging that allows for safe, timely distribution is a key next step. From strictly monitoring vaccine temperature to needing to be stored in a specific type of glass, how the vaccine is packaged and transported will play a vital role in its successful distribution.
Gary, a Rocket Industrial territory manager, wanted to be involved in a solution to Coronavirus, especially if it meant accelerating the progress on a vaccine. After signing up for every vaccine trial he could find, Gary learned that people in sales and food service, people that are exposed to crowds, such as attending sporting events, are preferred trial candidates. Since all these characteristics aligned with Gary’s lifestyle, he knew his participation in Pfizer or Moderna Phase 3 trial was something he wanted to partake in. Once accepted into a trial, Gary received a shot for the vaccine and began tracking the side effects he was experiencing. He has already been given the second dose and continues to monitor his symptoms. Gary is grateful that he had the chance to participate in the trial as he now has new insights into the medical advancements that are being made to address the pandemic.
Because of Gary’s insights into the trials that Pfizer and Moderna are conducting, Rocket Industrial recognizes how meaningful a role packaging companies play in the distribution of the vaccine. Like many other pharmaceutical and medical products, temperatures and containers are vital to distribution. Vaccine vials must be made from a specific type of glass that can tolerate low temperatures and remain sterile, but like many other packaging materials, there is a current shortage of this glass. Additionally, the self-sealing rubber stoppers needed for the vials could face future shortages, so it is important to start allocating these materials now.
In addition to securing huge numbers of specialty vaccine vials, the temperature while en route between manufacturers and clinics and hospitals must be controlled to ensure proper viability of the vaccine, also known as cold chain transportation. Refrigerated shipping containers and ultra-cold freezers are costly and out of budget for many clinics, so Pfizer and BioNTech are coming up with unique packaging solutions. According to Pfizer, they have specially designed, temperature-controlled thermal shippers that utilize dry ice to maintain temperatures for up to 10 days.
At such a large scale, the infrastructure already set for administering vaccines is not enough to accommodate the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. Current vaccines still need to be administered, so the infrastructure will need to grow to accommodate this additional vaccine. Like Pfizer and BioNTech’s specially designed shippers, we can expect to see other companies coming up with other packaging innovations to ensure proper and timely distribution of the vaccine.
Rocket Industrial will continue to watch and share new developments in the packaging and distribution of the vaccine, with a release expected before the end of the year. We at Rocket Industrial are intrigued by the unique challenges of the pharma industry. How can the package engineers of Rocket Industrial help solve your packaging challenges? Contact us today!