Cold Jet – the worldwide leader in the manufacturing of dry ice production and blasting equipment – is helping industry and governments to safely distribute billions of COVID-19 vaccine doses around the world.
Dry ice has long been an essential contributor to the global economy. Made of recycled CO2, dry ice is known mainly for its’ use in cold chain management and keeping perishable goods cool during shipment. It is also extensively used as a cleaning medium in an environmentally friendly process known as dry ice blasting in a wide range of industries. However, dry ice has taken on a new responsibility in humanity’s fight against COVID-19.
Some COVID-19 vaccines currently in development must maintain a consistent temperature of approximately-70°C ±10°C (-94°F ±14°F) during storage and shipment in order for them to remain stable and viable. This presents a logistical challenge in the global distribution of vaccines.
“Dosing dry ice directly into temperature-controlled thermal shippers is the only way to maintain that temperature level during transit and storage,” said Wim Eeckelaers, Managing Director, EMEA, Cold Jet. “At all points in the vaccine transportation and distribution cold chain, dry ice is needed to maintain temperature.”
Pharmaceutical and logistics companies as well as governmental agencies need to create an ultra-low temperature cold chain in order to keep vaccines below sub-zero temperatures. Currently, the existing refrigerated transport infrastructure and supply chain is not prepared to handle these types of shipments. This is where Cold Jet is making a difference.
“We are very experienced in the logistics of using dry ice for cooling during shipment,” said Dennis Hjort, Vice President – Global Dry Ice Manufacturing Systems, Cold Jet. “We are guiding customers and helping them overcome the challenges of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. We’re not only working with pharmaceutical and logistics companies, but also our global network of dry ice distributors.”
Once the vaccines reach local communities, they will be further divided up and sent to vaccination centers, public and mobile clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies. Cold Jet is working with local distributors around the world to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of all communities, whether they are in the inner-city or in hard to reach rural areas.
Cold Jet’s dry ice production machines are capable of producing up to 1,600 lb (750 kg) per hour and are engineered to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cold Jet machines are producing dry ice at all points in the vaccine distribution cold chain. From the packaging lines at a multinational pharmaceutical company to distribution centers at global logistics companies and locally within hundreds of communities around the world.
Another major logistical issue is ensuring that dry ice reaches communities in the developing world where a dry ice supply is scarce or non-existent.
The World Health Organization cites inadequate cold chain capacity as a major issue to vaccine distribution in developing economies. In recent years, millions of doses of vaccines were lost due to cold chain failures.
Cold Jet’s Dry Ice Production Hub helps solve this issue. The system is capable of producing vaccine quality dry ice in any remote area. The system integrates a dry ice production unit with a transportable container that features a separate filling room. All that is required is electrical power, liquid CO2, and instrument air. This system can easily be transported from location to location. This enables dry ice to be produced anywhere in the world and ensures vaccines are kept cool.
“We want to guarantee that any person, no matter where they live in the world, is able to obtain a safe and viable vaccine,” said Hjort.
Based on current projections, up to 50 million vaccine doses will be distributed globally in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. Dry ice will be essential in the safe distribution of every single one of these doses.
“The impact of COVID-19 on global health and the global economy has been painful, but Cold Jet is extremely proud to play such a vital part in the distribution process of a vaccine,” said Eeckelaers.