KUALA LUMPUR: The largest pharmaceutical firm in Malaysia, Pharmaniaga Bhd, today announced that it is gearing up to distribute the vaccine for Covid-19. The vaccine is expected to be available early next year.
The announcement comes in the wake of reports of a government deal with US manufacturer Pfizer to buy enough vaccine for 6.4 million Malaysians to inoculate Covid-19.
After that, Zulkarnain Md Eusope, Managing Director of Pharmaniaga Group, said that the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd, will prioritise the Pfizer vaccine’s temperature requirements to ensure its continued consistency, protection and efficacy.
It is important to maintain the Pfizer vaccine at a temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius. A temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius is needed for another Covid-19 vaccine, from Moderna Inc.
“Most other manufacturers of vaccines have declared the minimum 2-80C temperature requirement.
This brings on the need for the high volume of vaccines to be handled in accordance with the manufacturers’ distribution criteria and specifications,’ he said.
He said Pharmaniaga had worked out the specifications for transportation.
Each of the boxes will be sealed with a temperature control system. So that it enables the consumer to verify compliance with the temperature. The delivery vehicles are equipped with “Internet of Things” devices that allow us to track the movement, arrival time and temperature of the vehicle.
Pfizer Vaccine needs an ultra-cold temperature of -700C
“We note that the Pfizer vaccine needs an ultra-cold temperature of -700C. So that the pre-filled frozen syringes will be delivered to dry ice-filled thermal shippers to maintain ultra-cold temperatures,” he said.
In Bukit Raja, Shah Alam; Juru, Penang; Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching. Pharmaniaga’s current warehouses have cold chain facilities with an environmental control system and back-up power to ensure the vaccines are safe for use, Zulkarnain said.
Furthermore the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency has licenced all these warehouses to handle cold chain goods. Also the facilities are continuously improved, he said.
In addition, “We mention the risk that if a large volume of Covid-19 vaccines goes beyond their storage capacity, hospital stores would have a significant constraint.” In this respect, to ensure smooth and orderly vaccination and stock replenishment, Pharmaniaga is looking at the just-in-time-based delivery system, he said.
Lastly, Pharmaniaga is owned by Boustead Holdings and LTAT, the Fund of the Armed Forces.
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