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Vaccine deliveries? We could do that, says Oakland boss

[ November 9, 2020   //   ]

Food delivery companies could help deliver Covid vaccines to clinics, hospitals or even homes, says Dean Attwell, chief executive of Oakland International. Speaking on the day that two pharma giants announced a possible breakthrough in developing an effective Covid vaccine, he explained that much of the expertise needed to handle meals in a safe, temperature-controlled manner is similar to that needed for the vaccine.

During the Covid crisis, Oakland has seen an upsurge in home deliveries of temperature controlled ‘meal kits’, along with that for ready meals, he explains. Demand for meal kits surged during the first lockdown and has stayed at high levels ever since, he says.

In logistics terms, delivering individual chilled or frozen packages of food is not so very different from doing the same thing for Covid vaccines, either to peoples’ homes or to clinics. “We’re set up for 100,000 home deliveries a week,” says Attwell. “And we could deliver vials of vaccines in envelopes. There are means of packing them securely and, yes, you can have temperature-controlled parcels. It’s what we do with meal kits.”

Even deep frozen vaccines could be handled by sealing it into a closed container of dry ice, he adds: “It’s expensive, but doable.”

Vaccines could be delivered by regular post; packaging exists that would seal the item in at the correct temperature and maintain it.

He would be delighted to be given the chance to show what Oakland can do, as well as make a major contribution to national well-being.

(The next printed issue of FBJ – FBJ 8 2020 – will include a Cool Chain report, including an interview with Oakland International.)

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