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How a vial of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine travels from a lab in Missouri to an arm in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi man gets his jab. AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu

How a vial of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine travels from a lab in Missouri to an arm in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi man gets his jab. AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu

How a vial of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine travels from a lab in Missouri to an arm in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi man gets his jab. AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu

How a vial of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine travels from a lab in Missouri to an arm in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi man gets his jab. AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu

Some of the vaccines require super-cold storage at virtually all points along the journey until they reach someone’s upper arm.

Ravi Anupindi, University of Michigan

Inoculating the planet from COVID-19 presents an unprecedented logistical challenge like none we’ve seen before. Mobilizing for a world war may be the closest comparison – but in this case, the enemy is invisible and everywhere.

Some of the vaccines require super-cold storage at virtually all points along the journey until they reach someone’s upper arm. And the vaccines are primarily being produced in wealthier countries, though the need – especially now – is greatest in the poorest.

While many rich countries such as Israel, Canada and those of the U.K. have managed to inoculate most of their citizens, the vast majority of people overall have yet to receive a single dose.

I have been studying global supply chains for over two decades, including those for drugs and other health-related products. To illustrate the process and how complicated and challenging it is, I’ll take you on the journey of a single dose of Pfizer – which received full Food and Drug Administration approval on Aug. 23, 2021 – all the way from a factory in Missouri to an arm in Bangladesh.

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