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How Real-Time Trackers and Software Play an Integral Role in Delivering COVID Vaccines Down Under

March 7, 2022

March 30, 2022

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When the Australian government needed a reputable cold chain logistics provider to distribute COVID-19 vaccines starting in late 2020, it turned to Melbourne-based Linfox, the largest privately-owned logistics company in the Asia-Pacific region. In business for more than six decades, Linfox understands the tremendous value of collaborative partnerships in the pharmaceutical supply chain. That is why, with human lives potentially at stake if the COVID vaccines fail to adhere to strict temperature controls, Linfox partners with Tive to gain real-time location and tracking capabilities.

This article offers a closer look at this partnership and what it accomplished, as well as the value of Tive’s hyper-accurate multi-sensor trackers and cloud-based software to ensure the pharmaceutical shipments arrive on time and in full.

As of March 1, 2022, thanks in part to this partnership, 79% of all Australians were fully vaccinated while another 6.1% were partially vaccinated, according to ourworldindata.org.

Delivering On Time, In Full, and in Compliance 

With the help of Tive, Linfox is succeeding in delivering COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination supplies across New South Wales, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory, and doing so on time, with digitally-backed temperature and delivery compliance that exceeds the Australian Department of Health guidelines.

The temperature-control guidelines for COVID vaccines are some of the most stringent–even the slightest variation of a degree or two beyond the acceptable ranges could render a shipment unusable. Prior to January 2022, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of the Australian Government Department of Health had approved three COVID vaccines for distribution in the country, each with its own acceptable temperature range:

Vaccine Acceptable Temperature Range
Oxford/AstraZeneca Between 2°C and 8°C
Moderna Between minus - 50°C and minus-15°C
Pfizer-BioNTech Between minus-80°C and minus-60°C
Note: In January 2022, the Novavax vaccine (Between 2°C and 8°C) was approved

Though each of the vaccines has different storage temperature requirements and shelf lives, each requires a stable cold chain with reliable tracking capabilities to ensure compliance. Depending on the cold chain in-transit temperature requirement and destination, Linfox could send a vaccine shipment in one of two ways:

  1. Active – in a refrigerated cold chain vehicle.
  2. Passive – in an ambient transport solution that uses validated packaging such as temperature-controlled gel packs.

Regardless of active or passive—or the mode of transport used (air, sea, truck rail)—a Tive Solo 5G single or multi-use multi-sensor  tracker is attached to each pallet, container, or shipment, recording the temperature and location data in real-time. The Solo 5G Tracker can be used in environments of -20°C to 60°C, with an accuracy of +/0.5°C, NIST Traceable. The data it collects gets passed along to the Tive cloud application, which interfaces with the Linfox control room dashboard. At the same time, a Sensitech datalogger tracks the average temperature of each shipment and shows a tick or cross to indicate temperature compliance. All this combines to provide around-the-clock visibility and communication capabilities. 

Success, Measured By the Numbers

The Linfox-Tive partnership has proved to be quite successful. As of December 1, 2021, Linfox reports the following results:

  • More than 10,500 different metro and regional customers serviced
  • 31 million kilometers traveled
  • More than 20 million vaccine doses delivered
  • More than 75,000 vaccine consumables handling units delivered
  • 400,000+ quality checks conducted along the way
  • 125 million+ data messages (25,000 per hour) with 100% accuracy

Furthermore, the teams achieved stellar compliant delivery on time and in full performance regarding vaccines (99.9%) and consumables (99.9%), and 100% cold chain performance in its distribution centers.

Download the "How Real-Time Tracking of Shipments Supports the Distribution of Pharmaceuticals" e-book.

How Trackers & Software Improve Pharma Supply Chains

As this partnership illustrates, the pharmaceutical supply chain is all about managing risk. The more complex and global a pharma supply chain becomes, the more critical it is to have the trackers and software solutions needed to assess risks and provide actionable insights in real-time.

Big Pharma truly is big business with potentially big risks. Consider these eye-catching statistics, as cited by Tower Cold Chain in its white paper titled Cold Chain Logistics: Passive vs. Active Systems in a Globally Disrupted Age:

  • $35 billion – the amount the biopharma industry loses annually as a result of failure in temperature-controlled logistics, according to the Institute for Human Data Science.
  • 52% – of all temperature excursions occur while a shipment is under the control of an airline or within the airport environment, according to IATA.
  • 8.5% – the expected compound annual growth rate of the global pharmaceutical logistics market from 2021-2028, according to Grand View Research.

With that amount of loss and risk, coupled with the expected growth, it’s no wonder that pharmaceutical companies are seeking out solutions that will help them identify immediately when a shipment is about to breach the acceptable temperature range. Creating real-time alerts and end-to-end visibility through a robust mix of state-of-the-art trackers and software provides the level of insight needed to significantly reduce temperature excursions.

The sensors on Tive’s GAMP-5 compliant trackers and beacons monitor product conditions, movement, and transaction handoffs in real time. In addition to the temperature monitoring capabilities mentioned above, other  benefits of TIVE trackers include:

  • Gather real-time data for humidity, light, motion, and shock.
  • The convenience of single-use or multi-use trackers.
  •  2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, and 5G shipment trackers integrate with cloud-based monitoring software.
  • The flexibility of GPS/WiFi/Cellular connectivity. 

To learn more about how the Tive solution can save COVID vaccines or other types of pharmaceutical shipments, contact us today.

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