Delivery of COVID-19 vaccine: DHL study shows how public and private sector can partner for success

  • Global delivery of 10 billion doses of
    serum needs scaled-up medical supply chains
  • A framework is provided to tackle
    future health emergencies beyond COVID-19

BONN, GERMANY – Media OutReach – September 7, 2020 – With first emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines
expected to be effective in the last quarter of 2020, logistics providers are
challenged to rapidly establish medical supply chains to deliver more than ten
billion doses worldwide. DHL, working with McKinsey & Company as
analytics partner, has published a white paper on securing a stable supply
chain for vaccines and medical goods during COVID-19, and future health crises.


Currently, more than 250 vaccines across seven platforms are being
developed and trialed. As COVID-19 vaccines have leapfrogged development
phases, stringent temperature requirements (up to -80°C) are likely to be
imposed for certain vaccines to ensure that their efficacy is maintained during
transportation and warehousing. This poses novel logistics challenges to the
existing medical supply chain that conventionally distributes vaccines at ~2–8°C.


In the paper, DHL evaluates how the transport of vaccines as a highly
temperature-sensitive product can be managed effectively to combat the further
spread of the virus. The scope of this task is immense: To provide global
coverage of COVID-19 vaccines, up to ~200,000 pallet shipments and ~15 million
deliveries in cooling boxes as well as ~15,000 flights will be required across
the various supply chain set-ups.


“The COVID-19 crisis emerged with an
unprecedented breadth and impact. It required governments, businesses, and the
logistics industry alike to adapt quickly to new challenges. As a world leader
in logistics, we want to share our experience of operating during one of the
biggest health crises in recent history, in order to develop strategies in an ever-more
connected world”, explains Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL. “To protect lives
against the pandemic, governments have moved towards a more active role in
medical supply chains. Over the past few months, we have demonstrated that
sufficient planning and appropriate partnerships within the supply chain can
play a key role as governments work to secure critical medical supplies during
health emergencies such as this.”


Future public health crisis management to include public-private

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, demand for
medical supplies has surged. For example, UNICEF sourced 100 times more face
masks and 2,000 times more medical gloves than in 2019. Bringing medical
supplies from their distant sources to the frontline has been one of the most
crucial activities in pandemic response management in the first phase of the
health emergency. For PPE specifically, inbound logistics were a major
challenge due to geographically concentrated production, limited airfreight
capacity and a lack of inbound quality checks. To ensure stable medical supply in a future
health crisis, a comprehensive setup of public health crisis strategies and
structures needs to be established by governments with partnerships from both
public and private sectors.


“From the onset, Asia was in the cockpit of the
supply race with millions of PPE and test kits shipped out of China and South Korea respectively,” added Leonora Lim, Head of Life Science and Healthcare, DHL
Customer Solutions and Innovation, Asia Pacific. “The delivery of vaccines
would be a completely different ball game however given the scale of
distribution and strict temperature requirements. A close partnership between
the public and private sectors would address the urgent need for a viable
medical supply chain that will preserve the integrity of these vaccines and
have them delivered to over 200 countries and territories in a timely fashion.” 


To kick-start the dialogue among the different actors and
improve pandemic resilience in medical supply logistics, DHL provides a
framework for the cooperation of logistics companies with authorities, politicians, NGOs
as well as the life sciences industry. The framework helps to establish
measures to ensure the most stable and safe supply chains possible. Besides an
emergency response plan, this includes a partnership network, strong physical
logistics infrastructure and IT-enabled supply chain transparency. Lastly, a
response unit with a clear mandate should be put in place to implement all
critical activities at short notice.


To read the
complete white paper, please click on the following link:


Note to editors:

As the leading logistics
provider for the life sciences and healthcare industry, DHL provides
forward-thinking, intelligent healthcare logistics through a holistic range of
patient-centric solutions. More than 9,000 specialists work across DHL’s
dedicated global network so that pharmaceutical, medical devices, clinical
trials and research organizations, wholesalers and distributors, as well as
hospitals and healthcare providers are connected across the value chain and
through digitalization, from clinical trials to point of care, and every step
in between.


The organization
provides high-quality, fully compliant logistics and supply chain services, and
champions innovative technologies that benefit customers and deliver better
care for patients. DHL’s portfolio for the healthcare industry includes 150+
pharmacists, 20+ clinical trials depots, 100+ certified stations, 160+
GDP-qualified warehouses, 15+ GMP-certified sites, 135+ medical express sites,
and a time-definite international express network covering 220 countries and

DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL is the leading global brand in
the logistics industry. Our DHL divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of
logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery,
e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions, international express, road, air
and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 380,000
employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects
people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global sustainable trade
flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including
technology, life sciences and healthcare, engineering, manufacturing &
energy, auto-mobility and retail, DHL is decisively positioned as “The
logistics company for the world”.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL
Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 63 billion euros in 2019. With
sustainable business practices and a commitment to society and the environment,
the Group makes a positive contribution to the world. Deutsche Post DHL Group aims
to achieve zero-emissions logistics by 2050.

The logistics company for the world.


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