If you thought the UK represented a major challenge for the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines, then take a look at the situation in India. With some 10.7m cases currently being reported, the second most populated country in the world, has just launched its national immunization programme with the support of B Medical Systems, a Luxembourg based global leader of vaccine cold chain vehicles, medical refrigeration manufacturing and logistics, which will eventually see 1 billion people vaccinated.
BMS has developed a multi-million-pound plan to provide a world-class, medically certified vaccine cold chain to India, including a new 15m Euro manufacturing 25,000 sq.m facility for its cold storage units in the State of Gujarat.
Recently, India reportedly hit the 100,000 deaths milestone, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Luc Provost, CEO of B Medical Systems comments on the enormity of this challenge: “We are helping to support India’s roll-out of the vaccination programme by providing the critical cold chain environments needed to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines, at this stage. This includes the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and the domestically developed Covaxin. We are assisting the management of the distribution demands in India, by installing our state-of-the-art, advanced robotic technology, and medical vaccine cold chain products in India by opening a large facility later this month (February 2021).”
Phase two of the vaccination distribution plans in India will incorporate end-to-end technological capabilities, according to Jesal Doshi, Deputy CEO of B Medical Systems. He adds: “This will be an unprecedented challenge and there will be difficulties distributing the vaccine across large areas and sometimes difficult terrain. In addition, reaching this population that is spread out across such a huge geographical expanse, we are taking into account the fact that some people will be living in areas of high poverty. Therefore, our planning has addressed this issue so that we can get the vaccines out to them or so that they can get to a health centre that is providing the vaccines.”
“Working with the government in India we hope to eventually vaccinate a billion people. Given the scale of the COVD-19 immunization campaign, we will help the roll-out achieve its goal by ensuring the safe transport and storage of all vaccines from -80C to +8C with full traceability throughout the cold chain.”
On reaching populations in remote areas of India, Doshi adds: “Ensuring that the vaccine reaches the remotest parts of the world is a task we have had a lot of experience in achieving and in fact our expertise spans more than four decades. Our technological equipment can safely transport a -80C vaccine at an external ambient temperature of 43C (very common in India in the summer) for a minimum of 5 days.”
“On top of this, we are helping to deliver the vaccines under the ‘Make In India’ initiative to support the government in its efforts to efficiently and effectively deliver COVID-19 vaccines across the country. We are further supporting India’s infrastructure and economy by ensuring at least 80% of the components for the cold chain vehicles and factory are manufactured and assembled in India in phase 1 of our programme, and we will ramp up to 100% end-to-end manufacturing in India by Phase II, and this will all be completed in 2021.’’ adds Doshi.
“We have also announced a major partnership agreement with Parekh Integrated Services Pvt Ltd (PISPL), a leading logistics and supply chain solutions provider to set-up the manufacturing plant, assembly, and the associated logistics.”