Vaccine Cold Chain Logistics

vaccine cold chain logistics

When creating a vaccine, one aspect that must be thought about is how it will be stored and transported. Unfortunately, most vaccines do not have thermal stability. This includes vaccines that are used for tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, mumps, measles, and rubella. As a result, in order to transport these pharmaceuticals, there has to be a vaccine cold chain logistics method in place to keep them at a proper temperature.

Vaccine Cold Chain Logistics

Vaccines that are not refrigerated properly will spoil in a short amount of time. The reason for this is because they have a biological matter that will degrade when it is not stored at a cool enough temperature. Because of this, vaccine distribution greatly relies on what is called cold chain logistics. Cold chain logistics has several stages. To start, the vaccines are produced by a manufacturer. The manufacturer will store the vaccines in a controlled environment, like cold storage facilities. Next, to make sure the vaccine remains active until it is going to be administered, every mode of storage and transport, which is called the supply chain, has to be kept cool. This refers to everything from warehouses, lorries, and airplanes.

Transportation Temperature Control

There are many things that can go wrong during transit because of the level of maintenance and consistency that is needed for temperature-controlled supply chains, making sure that the vaccines do not degrade. In fact, there are some studies that have been done that show almost fifty percent of the vaccines sent to low-income countries end up wasted. Even in wealthier areas of the world with established cold chain infrastructure, poor handling and equipment can cause expensive waste.

Current Shipping Methods

Currently, vaccines are created by the manufacturer and then shipped all over the world to where they need to be. The shipment process might include trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes. When shipping a vaccine it is very important to make sure that the temperature remains stable throughout the entire process. Because of this temperature need, it can be very expensive to ship vaccines. The expensive methods of shipping increase the overall cost of the vaccine, which is a problem as vaccines need to be readily available to everyone so that we can rid the world of many dangerous diseases such as smallpox and measles.

Possible New Shipping Methods

Vaccines are extremely important, which is why it is important to find a better way to ship them to the places that they need to be. One option that is being researched is using silica. Silica is very cheap, is easy to use, and abundant. It can be used to encase the components of a vaccine at the molecular level.

Essentially, the proteins would be encased in silicone so that it will keep its shape. When the proteins unfold they lose function and start to degrade, which makes it unusable as a vaccine. Heating and cooling of proteins can alter the shape of them. Finding alternative methods such as the use of silicone can protect the proteins from temperature fluctuations, thus preventing degradation.

Finding new shipping methods such as these is an important aspect of cold chain logistics. New technologies can help create better transportation so that a higher percentage of vaccines are usable and not simply thrown away.


Cold chain management and logistics for shipping vaccines are very complicated and expensive. New methods need to become available in order to lower the cost for shipping and to ensure that the vaccines do not degrade during the shipping process. Additionally, it is important to find alternative ways to create vaccines so that they are easier to transfer around the world.

Cannonball Express Transportation

Cannonball Express Shipping Company has been providing top-of-the-line service at a reasonable rate. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, we provide nationwide refrigerated LTL services, as well as, local delivery services. Contact us today!

Nationwide Shipping Company Services:

  • Refrigerated LTL deliveries in the lower 48 states
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Local Shipping Company Services:

  • Redelivery Services
  • Truckload & LTL Capabilities
  • PUP
  • Cross dock
  • Transload
  • Warehouse and Distribution capabilities from multiple Omaha Locations