Pharmaniaga fit for Covid-19 vaccine distribution nationwide

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

PHARMANIAGA Bhd has set up a task force and is all geared up to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine, which is expected to be available at the end of the first quarter next year.

In a statement yesterday, the company said this is in line with the recent announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the government had signed an agreement to purchase Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine for 6.4 million Malaysians.

The announcement has led the pathway for the government to have more such arrangements with other vaccine manufacturers.

Pharmaniaga group MD Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope said the company’s core competency lies in its pharmaceutical-grade logistic services and internationally recognised halal drug manufacturing facility.

He said the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd, has 26 solid years of vaccine logistics and distribution experience covering both the -20oC and 2°C-8oC constant temperature requirements, and it would give utmost priority to the compliance of the temperature requirements of the upcoming Covid-19 vaccine to ensure its continued quality, safety and efficacy.

“Vaccine transportation is not like any other drug, as any temperature breach out of the allowed range will impact its efficacy. In order to manage this, especially with the delivery challenge to remote locations in Sabah and Sarawak, Pharmaniaga has perfected the transportation medium, and the process complies with the Good Distribution Practice (GDP) requirements.

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

“We note that Pfizer’s vaccine requires an ultra-cold temperature of -70oC, thus the frozen pre-filled syringes will be delivered in thermal shippers which are filled with dry ice to maintain ultra-cold temperatures,” he said.

Elaborating further, Zulkarnain cited that there are other Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers such as Moderna Inc whose vaccines require -20oC temperature compliance.

“The majority of other vaccine manufacturers have announced the standard temperature requirement of 2°C-8oC. This brings about the need for the high volume of vaccines to be managed in compliance with the GDP requirements and specifications set by vaccine manufacturers,” he said.

Zulkarnain said Pharmaniaga’s current warehouses in Bukit Raja in Shah Alam, Selangor; Juru, Penang; Kota Kinabalu, Sabah; and Kuching, Sarawak, 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.

“We note the possibility that hospitals’ stores will have a major constraint if a big volume of Covid-19 vaccine arrives 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 will continue to support the nation during these trying times by delivering its best efforts and quality services to achieve a great vision for the country, he added.