The Friday Report: December 11th, 2020 - COVID-19 Vaccine Edition

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Food and Bev Industry Groups Lobby for COVID-19 Vaccine Priority

Out of concern for essential workers, representatives from fifteen food, beverage and CPG industry trade groups lobbied both President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden in mid-November to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in the agriculture, retail, food, and CPG sectors.  Ensuring that these essential workers are protected in one of the earliest phases of the nationwide vaccination program is believed to be important in safeguarding and keeping open the related supply chains.

The same fifteen industry groups sent a letter with a similar request to government officials in June 2020.  The Consumer Brands Association, which represents 1.2 million workers in the CPG industry sent a request by mail which was much the same in September 2020.  Concerns about worker absenteeism causing risk to the consistent manufacturing and maintenance of products needed to sustain human life.

For more information, please continue reading here.

2020 Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Production Reduced by Half Due to Supply Chain Challenges

Pfizer-BioNTech originally projected to roll out 100 million vaccines by January 2021 but now is reducing this by half as of November 9th.  The raw material supply chain for the COVID-19 vaccine took longer to stand up than anticipated and the timeline for the outcome of the clinical trial ran later than originally expected.

According to Pfizer, the company sources its raw materials from both Europe and the United States and ran into problems when it tried to scale up production in November 2020.  The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated new strategies for the development, manufacture, and distribution of vaccines. Contrary to typical vaccine campaigns, vaccine manufacturers did not wait for the final approval of their product prior to setting up production and supply chains.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine uses mRNA technology and requires ultra-cold storage conditions.

As of December 2nd, an estimated 1.5 million people across the world have died from the coronavirus.

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Importance of Cold Chain Highlighted by Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of the cold chain became apparent to consumers, businesses, and the government.  Tested during trying times, cold chain operations are a top priority in ensuring the safety and health of consumers and animals when consuming both food and beverages as well as some pharmaceuticals.

Cold storage warehouses were an issue of particular concern.  According to research conducted by JLL Research, nearly 78% of cold storage warehouse facilities were built over 20 years ago.  The demand for cold storage warehouses has continually increased year-after-year however the supply has not kept pace with demand.

As Americans have increasingly changed their taste preferences for foods, favoring fresh, natural, and organic foods over highly processed products, the need for cold storage warehouses has increased. The increasing popularity of online shopping for groceries is also a factor. In addition, up to half of the new pharmaceutical products approved by the FDA over the past few years require cold storage conditions, making cold chain logistics also necessary. 

With the ramp up of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna which require the very cold storage conditions found in cold storage warehouse facilities, the need has only increased further.  New construction of cold storage warehouses is approximately double the cost of building a dry storage warehouse and takes more time to build.

For more information, please continue reading here.

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