Packaging Vaccines for Transport: How to Avoid Spoilage

Medical & Pharmaceutical


The transport of vaccines is an extremely sensitive process. Whether exposed to excessive heat or cold, temperature movement too far in one direction is likely to have an adverse effect on the potency of a vaccine. And once the potency of a vaccine is lost, there’s no way for it to return.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, this has been a big hurdle for vaccine manufacturers. WHO estimates that more than 50% of vaccines are wasted every year globally based on issues related to temperature control, logistics and shipments.

While this percentage can be attributed in part to the lack of cold chain supply infrastructure in remote countries, it’s also a matter of how vaccines are packaged for transport. The cases that house vaccines need to be equipped with the proper temperature control measures so they can withstand the impact of external temperature shifts and preserve the integrity of vaccines inside.

In this blog post, we’ll showcase some design elements that serve this purpose and share an example from our portfolio of how we tied them all together in one vaccine packaging solution.

3 Design Features That Matter for Vaccine Packaging


Double-Wall Structures

As their name suggests, double-wall structures offer two layers of material protection versus one. While added insulation helps protect sensitive products from external factors like vibrations or accidental drops, the same sentiment applies to extreme temperatures as well.

Phase-Change Materials

Dry ice, gel packs and phase-change materials (PCMs) are all recognized as active ways to keep temperature-sensitive products cool in transit. What makes PCMs most advantageous is that the sophisticated materials they use are non-hazardous, reusable and comparatively more effective in maintaining temperature control.

Gasketed Lid

While vaccines need to be easily accessible, the openings for lids can create room for air to enter and exit shipping cases — and in turn, alter the temperature inside. Gasketed lids form an airtight seal that prevents such air passage and subsequent issues.

Example: A Case We Developed for Flu Vaccine Transport

With a new flu vaccine ready to bring to the market and ship to physician offices overnight, one drug company connected with the team at Cases By Source to develop a custom case solution.

Using the results from past temperature studies as a reference point, we rotomolded a solution that combined a double-wall structure with phase-change materials inserted into the case wall, and a gasketed lid. The end result helped the company get their vaccines quickly and safely into the hands of physicians, increasing the access patients have to protect against the flu.

Interested in talking to Cases By Source about your packaging solutions? We’d love to chat and learn more about how we can assist. Request a consultation, and we’ll be in touch!


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