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DSV distributes 16 million vaccine doses in 12 months

One year on … DSV’s investment in -70°c cold chain helps South Africa’s fight against Covid19

DSV distributes 16 million vaccine doses in 12 months

DSV Healthcare has distributed 16 million Pfizer Covid19 vaccine doses in twelve months. The 16 million represents 50% of Pfizer vaccine doses distributed in South Africa.

The mass rollout of vaccinations started in mid-May, 2021. DSV Healthcare was awarded the tender (jointly with The Biovac Institute) from the National Department of Health (NDoH) to distribute the -70°C vaccines jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, to multiple private and public vaccination sites around the country.

Vaccine doses distributed by province
DSV has distributed over 4m doses in the Western Cape, and just under 4m doses in Gauteng. Together, this accounts for half the doses distributed by DSV.

KwaZulu was third highest with 2.2m doses, thereafter the Eastern Cape with 1.5m then Limpopo with 1.2m. Provinces where under one million doses were distributed included North West (667.000), Free State (632,000), Mpumalanga (597,000) and Northern Cape (218,000)

The majority of the vaccine doses (see graph and table below) were distributed during the severe third wave (Delta variant), from May 2021 to September 2021, with the peak in June and July 2021.

Distribution volumes in November and December 2021, during the more infectious but significantly less severe fourth wave (Omicron variant), were significantly down.

Distribution volumes have been relatively consistent in the first four months of 2022, although increased positivity rates in May could increase the vaccine demand.

Vaccine does distribution from May 2021 to April 2022
Demand for vaccinations – and therefore the distribution of vaccine doses – has, however fallen significantly since the peak in August and September 2021.
Table showing  distribution of covid vaccine doses by DSV
The vaccination drive has succeeded to the point where the distribution and availability of vaccination doses have exceeded demand, despite initial media and social media debate that South Africa would not be able to distribute vaccines at -70°C. 

The success of the National Department of Health led campaign reflects the efforts of many stakeholders, including distributors and the public and private healthcare sectors

In DSV’s case, the investment in a world class healthcare distribution facility and meticulous planning paved the way for delivering when most needed. 

In fact, DSV had been so keen to contribute to the fight against Covid-19 that the company bought nine highly specialised ultra-cold freezers on risk because there would simply have been no time to boost capacity once the tender was awarded.
For DSV, success has meant staying true to standard operating procedures specifically developed for the NDoH and factoring in four variables that made this project like no other: risk mitigation planning, scale, time, and accuracy.

These critical success factors were woven into the three key processes – warehousing, distribution, and DSV’s control tower.

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