Resilience Analysis of Vaccine Supply Chain

July 23, 2021

Released by Sentry BioPharma Services

In, as it says, what now appears to be a prescient discussion described in an article written in April, 2020[1], Tim Gunn wrote about how vaccine cold chain supply practices were soon going to be put to the test to store and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. Now, with vaccine distribution having been ongoing for several months, in a recently published book a chapter is included in which a group of analysts at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center called for proactive application of resilience analytics to vaccine supply chains in order to increase the probability that vaccine programs will have continued functionality in the face of somewhat predictable disruptions[2].

According to the authors, a review of publications from 2020 regarding the vaccine supply chain revealed a lack of evidence-based models and a narrow focus on only portions of the overall supply chain network. Thus, they advocate for a comprehensive, quantitative approach to modeling and analyzing vaccine supply chain resilience.

Such an analysis, they say, should be based upon a “network model encompassing……. the manufacturing ecosystem, to the cold chain and the last mile [delivery and administration], to reverse logistics and waste management…”, and taking into account network interdependencies and trade-offs.

As background to their recommendations for resilience analysis, the authors summarize the overall vaccine supply network and specific disruptions that may occur. And, as has now become all too familiar during the pandemic, the cold chain is one of the more important components described. As the authors indicate, “Most pharmaceutical companies rely on service providers for distribution of temperature dependent products.”

Requirements for the cold chain listed include appropriate equipment capable of responding to different vaccine storage temperature requirements, proper protocols and procedures among the adjoining networks, trained personnel, and ready transportation. Possible disruptions mentioned include loss of power and, as is recently becoming more prominent, cyber-attack.

At Sentry BioPharma Services we take great effort to provide such resilience with redundant equipment, multiple power supplies, robust physical and cyber security, highly trained expert staff, and qualified, reliable transportation partners. We invite you to learn more on our website, or contact us by e-mail at, or by telephone at 1-866-757-7400 or 001-317-856-5889 (International).

[1] Gunn, T. How the cold chain could prove vital in the fight to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. NS Healthcare, (Apr 23, 2020).

[2] Golan, M.S., et al. The Vaccine Supply Chain: A Call for Resilience Analytics to Support COVID-19 Vaccine Production and Distribution in Trump, B., Keenan, J., Linkov, I. “COVID‐19: Systemic Risk and Resilience” Springer (2021) in press. Preprint at (2021).