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Gareth Carpenter
21 May 2021

Finding the right experts and collaborating at speed essential to COVID-19 vaccine rollout, says CPHI panel

CPHI Discover webinar examines the progress made so far in terms of vaccine distribution to the global population as well as anticipating future challenges

Finding the right experts quickly to solve manufacturing and distribution challenges has been key to the success of pharma’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to the global population so far.

This was one of the key messages to come out of the recent CPHI Discover webinar, COVID-19: Delivering Vaccines to the Masses chaired by Duncan Emerton, Executive Director, Custom Intelligence & Analytics [EMEAI], Informa Pharma Intelligence and sponsored by BD.

“Speed was always of the essence and this meant a lot of collaboration and dialogue, but also finding the right experts with the right knowledge so that we could build very quickly our models to plan for additional capacity, so that we could take measured risks to expand capacity for devices like syringes which would be in high demand,” said Marie-Liesse Le Corfec, Global Portfolio Marketing Head, Pharmaceutical Systems, BD.

Ms Le Corfec identified vial and syringe shortage and the need for the optimisation of the number of doses that can be administered as among the challenges in the current vaccine rollout.

“Maximising the number of extractable doses from multidose vials with low dead space syringes with appropriate graduations or using ready-to-use pre-fillable syringes can contribute to meeting these challenges but require advanced planning,” she said.

She added that pre-fillable syringes could contribute to solving the current challenges.

“We are seeing increasing demand for PFS from vaccine manufacturers worldwide because they can increase efficiency of workflow, they can be dose-sparing, and they can reduce the amount of hazardous waste to handle,” she said. “They are also designed not only as administration devices but also as containers. They would be suitable for sensitive formulations or vaccines that need deep cold storage.”

Scott Whyte, Chief Digital Officer, AeroSafe Global said pharma’s rapid response to the vaccine was centred on great collaboration between many stakeholders that allowed for work on the distribution side to go in parallel with the therapy development.

“We didn’t have to wait until everything was done before we received the requirements, developed the design, and tested and produced the solution,” he said. “We could work far upstream so that when the therapies were approved, the distribution could start straightaway.”

Mary Bussell, Lead, The Vaccine Ecosystem Initiative, The Economist Group, told the CPHI audience thay COVID-19 vaccine development is progressing at an unprecedented pace while the current pandemic has starkly demonstrated the close link between science, health and health protection, human capital and economic growth, and global security.

“Deficiencies in the broad vaccine ecosystem must be addressed to achieve efficient and equitable global immunisation,” she said. “Increasing the resilience and responsiveness of the vaccine ecosystem must ensure that supply meets demand by streamlining regulatory policies, by investing in and leveraging new models to maintain necessary manufacturing capacity, by strengthening global supply chains of inputs and end-products, by fortifying logistic and distribution channels and by increasing the size of the skilled workforce required.”

This webinar will be available on demand from 31 May. In the meantime, for details on how to register for this ongoing virtual event, head to the CPHI Discover website

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