A much-envied essential supply position - that of temperature-sensitive vaccine distribution in South Africa - has been awarded to DSV in tandem with a public-private partner, The Biovac Institute.
According to the logistics service provider, the Department of Health (DoH) gave them the tender to distribute the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 mRNA vaccine to centres across the country.
Managing director of DSV Healthcare, Anthony Diack, said this was a crucial task for South Africa. “We’re pleased to have been selected as a nationwide distributor of the Pfizer vaccines. We take our contribution for the greater good of our people extremely seriously and have the utmost respect for the task at hand.”
In a statement sent to Freight News, DSV added: “As the largest private distributor of cold chain products to the public and private sectors in South Africa we have the experience, infrastructure, and cold chain capabilities to support the national initiative to vaccinate communities around the country. This expertise is especially crucial when handling the Pfizer vaccine which needs to be stored, handled, and distributed at -70˚C.”
Diack emphasised that the extremely low temperatures at which the vaccine needed to be handled was, of course, a challenge which supported the need for the appropriate cold chain capabilities and a well-developed certified distribution network.
“DSV has one of the largest GDP-compliant cold rooms in the Southern Hemisphere and has spent many years investing in South African infrastructure and developing these specialised handling skills for both 2-8 ˚C and -70 ˚C, so I am confident we can bring the vital doses to the communities safely and securely.”
It is expected that the first doses will arrive in the country in the first week of May, followed by sampling.
Once the necessary stability certification had been issued, the distribution of the first doses would commence, DSV said.