Pharmaniaga gears up to distribute Covid-19 vaccines
Published on: Monday, November 30, 2020
By: Bernama
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Photo: Sinar Harian
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s largest pharmaceutical company, Pharmaniaga Bhd, said today it is gearing up to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine, which is expected to be available early next year.

The announcement comes in the wake of news of a government agreement with US manufacturer Pfizer to purchase enough Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate 6.4 million Malaysians.

Pharmaniaga group managing director Zulkarnain Md Eusope said the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd, would give priority to the temperature requirements of the Pfizer vaccine to ensure its continued quality, safety and efficacy.

The Pfizer vaccine must be kept at a temperature of -70⁰C. Another Covid-19 vaccine, from Moderna Inc, requires a temperature of -20⁰C.

“The majority of other vaccine manufacturers have announced the standard temperature requirement of 2-8⁰C. This brings about the need for the high volume of vaccines to be managed in compliance with distribution requirements and specifications set by the manufacturers,” he said.

He said Pharmaniaga had worked out the transport requirements.

“Each of the boxes will be sealed together with a temperature monitoring device which allows the customer to verify the temperature compliance. The delivery vehicles are equipped with “Internet of Things” devices which allow us to monitor the vehicle’s movement, arrival time as well as temperature.

“We note that Pfizer’s vaccine requires an ultra-cold temperature of -70⁰C, thus the frozen pre-filled syringes will be delivered in thermal shippers which are filled with dry ice to maintain ultracold temperatures,” he said.

Zulkarnain said Pharmaniaga’s current warehouses, in Bukit Raja, Shah Alam; Juru, Penang; Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching, have cold chain facilities with an environmental monitoring system and back-up power to ensure the vaccines are safe for use.

In addition, all these warehouses have been licensed to handle cold chain products by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, and the facilities are continuously enhanced, he said.

“We note the possibility that hospitals’ stores will have a major constraint if a big volume of Covid-19 vaccines arrive beyond their storage capacity. On this aspect, Pharmaniaga is looking at the just-in-time-based delivery system to ensure smooth and orderly vaccination and stock replenishment,” he said.

Pharmaniaga is owned by Boustead Holdings and the Armed Forces Fund Board, LTAT.


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