How Johnson & Johnson Uses Cold Chain Technologies In COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

After receiving authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use of its single-shot vaccine against COVID-19, Johnson & Johnson is now facing up to the logistical challenges of making good on its promise to deliver 100 million doses of the drug to patients in the US during the first half of 2021.

Though standard methods of vaccine storage and distribution apply to the single-dose vaccine, the fact that requests for the jab are being submitted to the company from health authorities worldwide introduces the challenge of transporting and preserving the drug in a number of scenarios outside the continental United States.

The vaccine can remain stable for two years at -20°C (-4°F ), and for a maximum of three months with routine refrigeration at temperatures of 2 to 8°C (36-46°F). For shipment over longer distances, Johnson & Johnson will be using the same cold chain technologies that it currently employs for transporting cancer treatments, therapeutic drugs for immunological disorders, and other medications.

Chain of custody monitoring is important to the roll out of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 treatment. If the single-shot vaccine is initially distributed at temperatures in the range 2 to 8°C, it’s efficacy is severely impaired, if the drug is ever thawed and refrozen.

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