The COVID-19’s Race is On: DHL’s White Paper Offers Lessons Learned after over a Year of the Pandemic

Beyond 2021, locally appropriate last-mile delivery, distribution mechanisms, and a steady supply of vaccinations will be crucial

Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL (centre) during the media briefing on “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” through DHL live-stream

COVID-19 is the deadliest health and economic crisis to strike the globe in recent times and every aspect of civilisation has been disrupted. Logistics and supply chain management have been critical in pandemic management and more than 350 DHL facilities were involved, being part of the response strategy for over 120 countries from the very beginning.The DHL’s white paper “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” examines what the industry has learnt from the fight against COVID-19 in order to be better prepared to face future public health crises.

“Logistics and supply chain management play a key role in pandemic management. Keeping supply chains running and ensuring delivery for essential health supplies provided valuable lessons,” explains Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL.
She also emphasised the importance of collaboration from all sectors to speed up vaccination distribution and put a stop to the pandemic. Solid alliance and data analytics is crucial to be prepared for large patients’ vaccination volumes.

“Recent months of rolling out the vaccines have shown that the safe, timely, and efficient transportation of these life-saving treatments is not simply a matter of bringing them from point A to point B,” said Julian Neo, Managing Director of DHL Express Malaysia and Brunei, noting that the company has delivered more than two million doses to Malaysia thus far.

Research and development established the groundwork for this by generating a vaccine five times quicker than any other in history. DHL was able to get life-saving immunisations to patients all around the world thanks to logistics and supply chain.
Although unprecedented cold chain requirements of up to – 70°C had to be met, logistics were able to roll out the distribution three times faster than usual. Furthermore, multilateral action by public health and policy actors has provided conducive framework for rapid vaccine development and deployment.

Collaboration key to global vaccine distribution

For high levels of immunisation, around 10 billion vaccine doses are required globally by the end of 2021. However, only four countries have achieved vaccination rates >50% to date and many of the remaining countries and territories have less-developed infrastructure, making the rollout more difficult.

For high levels of immunisation, around 10 billion vaccine doses are required globally by the end of 2021 (Image by Hakan Nural)

To speed up vaccine distribution, the following areas need to be looked at:

  • Industries and nations must foster collaboration, paying special attention to building strong partnerships and a supportive data backbone.
  • 95% of global COVID-19 vaccine doses are produced in just eight countries and need to be delivered worldwide. Proactive transport-capacity management and sustainability are needed.
  • Locally designed last-mile ground distribution methods should also be implemented, with a focus on warehouse location.

7-9 billion doses of vaccines are necessary annually to keep (re-)infection rates low and slow down the pace of virus mutations.

Planning for the future

Active partnerships, improved global warning systems, a coordinated epidemic-prevention agenda, and targeted R&D spending are all required for early detection and prevention of health concerns.

It is advocated that viral containment and countermeasures (digital contact tracing and national stockpiles) be expanded and institutionalised to improve strategic planning and response times. Governments and corporations should leverage “ever-warm” manufacturing capacity.

To read the complete white paper, please click on the following link:

In another news, after the controversy of being administered lower dosage of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, medical staffs are now required to show the recipients a syringe loaded with the COVID-19 vaccine before administering it as well as the emptied syringe afterwards.