On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic arising from corona virus disease – 19 (COVID-19). The pandemic triggered a race among leading drug-makers and research institutes to develop a vaccine at the earliest. On December 02, 2020, the U.K. approved the COVID-19 vaccines co-developed by Pfizer, Inc. (U.S.) and BioNTech. Since then, few other vaccines (launched by Moderna, Sputnik, Sinopharm, among others) have received approval for emergency use.
Considering the importance of these vaccines, many countries entered into purchase agreements for large volumes of vaccine doses while the vaccines were in development stage. As per Duke Global Health Innovation Center’s tracker, at least 7.7 billion vaccine doses have been purchased and another 3.9 billion reserved by varied countries and regions. As of January 2021, the top countries/region to have secured largest volume of doses via such agreements includes India (1.6 billion), EU (1.6 billion), U.S. (1.1 billion), among others.
Varied strategies were followed by the countries belonging to different income groups to secure such huge volumes of doses. The high-income countries exhibited purchase power and supported vaccine development by providing funds, the middle-income countries leverage the power of manufacturing capacities and infrastructural capability to host clinical trials, and the low-income countries have been focussing on collations to secure funding for vaccine purchase.
As large volumes of doses are being purchased, countries are intensively focusing on building distribution and implementation plans for mass vaccination. Among several challenges faced during the implementation, limited cold-chain capacity is one of the major areas of concerns for successful implementation of vaccination programs. To overcome this challenge, countries world-wide have started purchase of vaccine storage equipment. For instance, in December 2020, NHS Scotland installed vaccine ULT freezer storage supplied by Haier Biomedical across 23 sites, as a part of Phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccination program. Similarly, in July 2020, Haier Biomedical won the procurement bid for COVID-19 project to supply the Congolese government / the Republic of Congo with biosafety and cold-chain transportation equipment. The firm would supply 1045 units of ultra-low temperature freezers, cryogenic freezers, biosafety cabinets and clean benches, medicine refrigerators, and transport coolers.
Thus, approval of COVID-19 vaccines coupled with intensive focus on preparing for mass immunization is expected to significantly stimulate the market growth for vaccine storage equipment in near future.