Improving Vaccine Cold Chain Integrity with IoT Analytics


The US Centers for Disease Control claims vaccine storage and transport issues are responsible for nearly 10% of the 65 million COVID-19 vaccine doses wasted in the US the past two years. To address this vaccine logistics challenge, the North Carolina Collaboratory and analytics leader SAS (Cary, NC) are using Internet of Things (IoT) analytics and sensor data from vaccine storage freezers to strengthen cold chain integrity and improve dosage delivery, particularly to underserved and rural communities, SAS reports.

Established in 2016 and headquartered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the NC Collaboratory is a research and policy organization that taps into the resources and expertise of all 17 institutions of the University of North Carolina System. Among these institutions are several historically minority-serving institutions and remote campuses that host ultra-low temperature freezers that support more equitable vaccine distribution to underserved communities. The NC Collaboratory provided 63 freezers across the state, with a capacity of 9.3 million vaccine doses, nearly enough for every person in the state.

The NC Collaboratory approached SAS Analytics to select, transform and operationalize data—without coding—from sensors across 10 freezer locations at universities, in addition to third-party public health data. The project monitored the impact of factors including temperature, humidity, vibration during transport, opening and closing, duration in storage and freezer capacity, while tapping predictive insights and intelligent alerting capabilities to identify and address potential dosage loss and regional vaccine shortages.

Jason Mann, Vice President for Internet of Things at SAS, commented: “This initiative will undoubtedly accelerate the state’s ability to prepare and respond in the face of the next pandemic, variant or deployment of future mRNA vaccines.”

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