Vaccine Logistics Security Plan Lacks Essential Technology

As FedEx and DHL ramp up for the ever-important distribution of COVID-19 vaccine distribution there are many groups involved in the planned process.  According to NBC News, the US was split in half and each territory was granted to each carrier based on population of Americans over 18  years old.  FedEx is reportedly taking the West Coast and DHL the East Coast.

NBC set expectations that police may be involved as well as the Army for logistics.  Pfizer put removeable trackers inside the boxes that find their way from the pharmaceutical company’s Michigan and Wisconsin sites to cargo planes then to trucks that are also carrying holiday packages.  That creates a lot of opportunities to interact with the packaged vaccines and, despite having the removable chip that can track and report GPS locations, it’s nearly impossible to individually track and assess the safety and authenticity of the vaccines from Army headquarters and make sense out of the information being fed them. 

Tampering can occur within any of that logistics supply chain including swapping out original vaccines with counterfeits.  The International Chamber of Commerce estimates that, $4.2 trillion dollar swill drain from the global economy” from counterfeiting.  That staggering statistic reflects a pervasive, global threat to businesses and brands but what about human life and well-being?  There is no price one can place on the value of life and loved ones. 

According to Logistics Management, ““Most of the leading vaccines must be transported and stored at cool, or cold, temperatures,” said John Larkin, Operating Partner, Clarendon Capital. “This complicates matters, as refrigerated capacity of containers, trailers, and warehouses are already in short supply.  To make matters more complex, various vaccines must be transported and stored at different temperatures.”  

Larkin also touched upon other key vaccine distribution-related aspects to monitor, including: supply chain security being of critical importance to ensure product integrity and to enable the inoculation of the most needy people first; labor supply potentially being a gating factor, as truck drivers, warehousemen, and supply chain security personnel are already tough to recruit and retain; and the traditional retail/e-tail season will be in high gear as the vaccine distribution effort ramps up, which he said may further exacerbate the supply/demand imbalance for freight handing/transportation services.”

This introduces hiring, retention and attrition issues which makes screening and tracking employees even more challenging.

If NBC News is correct in reporting that the FedEx and DHL trucks that ultimately deliver the last mile logistics are also carrying holiday packages in the same trucks, the risk variables rise even further.

All these unknowns and variables point to the fact that the vaccine supply chain needs more robust and layered technology to perform this essential function.

At a macro level, OpticalLock is a tracking, monitoring and security system that not only provides actionable, real-time information re: location, temperature, humidity, battery life and security status but also provides the absolute peace of mind that tampering has not occurred.  Our patented, unique pedigree provides assurance that:

  • The GPS location is trackable
  • The temperature & humidity the package experienced meet the requirements for effectiveness and safety
  • No one opened the freezer, cooler, palate or package along the way
  • The package was not opened then resealed faking out the logistics teams trying to watch a GPS map that everything is fine.  If breached, immediate alerts ensue, and no breached vaccine containers will be administered. 

In addition, (and perhaps more importantly in this scenario), OpticalLock allows for Geofencing, a technology that allows a geographical fence to be put in place with alerts for breaching a perimeter or crossing boundaries which removes human error and optimizes human interaction providing alerts when action needs to occur.

OpticalLock Inc. is also introducing a smaller or micro level solution in our soon-to-be-released secure, smart envelope, OpticalShield.  OpticalShield assures authenticity and temperature for individual vaccines and other pharmaceuticals and will be available in early 2021.

When it comes to leveraging the Internet of Things for mission critical logistics and security, we need everyone to take that extra step and use an All-In-One, layered monitoring system in OpticalLock.  People’s lives depend on it.  Contact us at today.

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