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The Eagle has landed. Did it keep its cool? Last week 142,000 doses of vaccine arrived in Australia.

Updated: Mar 3

Early last week, Australia received 142,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The efficacy and integrity of quality of the vaccine is contingent on an unbroken cold chain.

There is no resting on the laurels, already this week Sydney’s and NSW’s frontline staff were first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Over the coming weeks,14,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered to complete the task of vaccinating 35,000 frontline and health workers. The estimation is that within 3 weeks from Monday this group will have received the first dose of the two doses required for maximum protection.

The work of quarantine and border staff is to keep the community safe, but their work also means that they are the ones potentially most exposed to the Corona virus. When vaccinated, most importantly the staff is protected, and when this group is vaccinated it also translates to a first line of defence against community transmission. The group of workers next in line to receive the vaccine are personnel at testing clinics, ambulance services and hospital staff working at emergency departments, COVID-19 clinics, and ICU wards.

Last week’s arrival of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine marks the start of a momentous – and historical - vaccination program. Key to the success of the vaccination program is that the efficacy of the vaccine is intact, and one of the most crucial factors in keeping the quality unadulterated is temperature control throughout the cold chain.

Vaccin bottles need temperature monitoring
Vaccin bottles

All vaccines are temperature sensitive to a various degree. In the instance of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the vaccine loses efficacy at a temperature that is above -70 C. So hence, part of the approval process of the vaccine before being released to do its job is to ensure the correct temperature has been maintained, logged, and monitored throughout the cold chain.

When announcing the arrival of the vaccine last week, Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the vaccine was subject to quality assessment. Mr Hunt said, “the vaccines will now be subject to security, quality assurance, in particular to ensure that the temperature maintenance has been preserved throughout the course of the flight to ensure the integrity of the doses, and to ensure that there has been no damage”.

Last week prime minister Scott Morrison announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine now has TGA approval and will be rolled out in the next couple of months, with vaccine produced overseas arriving in the beginning of March. Earlier in the year, Mr Morrison said, "The vaccination roll out will be one of the largest logistics exercises ever seen in Australia's history".

The monitoring of temperatures during transport and logistics is most reliably performed by a data logger. The integrity of the cold chain can be ensured and verified – quality control - when temperatures have been measured throughout the supply chain by precise data acquisition.

Contact Connected IoT for advice on how to assure and monitor the quality of any temperature sensitive products in the categories of pharmaceuticals, health care, life science, food, blood transport and more.

Contact us on 02 8007 51 53 or .

* Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

Blog updated 25 February, 2021

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