Digital Health

Get the Scoop: How Ice Cream Cold Chains and Vaccines are Related

Overview As the health care industry ships out vaccines for the coronavirus and prepares to expand access to the vaccines worldwide, technology from ice cream makers around the world can help reduce waste and more safely distribute vaccines to communities everywhere.

The world is hopeful as COVID-19 vaccines start to be administered, but the distribution of vaccines to every corner of the world — particularly to typically underserved communities — is no easy feat.

Current COVID-19 vaccines are developed with strict storage and temperature requirements, setting tight boundaries when it comes to preventing spoilage to be able to administer as many effective vaccines as possible.

Though a more delicate and pressing matter than a melted icy treat, vaccine distribution logistics can harness tips and tricks from the mass distribution of ice cream.


It Can Go the Distance

Refrigerated trailers are set with a compressor, condenser and evaporator to make sure that the trailers holding the ice cream stay cool independently of the vehicle that carries them, and companies that must keep their product at a significantly lower temperature — such as Dippin’ Dots — include dry ice around packaging.

Beyond the transportation itself, though, there is also a level of technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) plays an integral role in the transportation of ice cream, providing the necessary visibility for drivers and logistics professionals to track and maintain the correct temperature of refrigerator trucks.

Intelligent sensors help provide constant real-time data about an ice cream shipment’s location, temperature and any external factors that could cause ice cream to melt or spoil — including traffic jams. Transparency on the status of the desserts at every point of distribution, even storage and manufacturing, allows ice cream companies to reduce waste and optimize costs.


Keep Cool and Carry the Vaccine

The frosty sub-zero temperatures required for the safe and effective transport and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines may also rely on similar technologies.

Ultra-low freezers for storage and shipping of the vaccines paired with dry ice can maintain the very specific colder-than-normal-ice-cream temperatures needed for the vaccines currently developed.

And just like preventing food safety concerns with melted ice cream, IoT sensing, tracking and analytics tools can keep the in-demand vaccines from spoiling before it reaches a patient.

Designing end-to-end systems for transparency and real-time data in worldwide distribution centers, including clinics and hospitals in more remote regions, will be critical for the effective delivery of vaccines and for making sure that patients get both necessary doses.

For both ice cream and the vaccine, machine learning, tracking and more can make sure that supply and demand numbers match, further reducing waste.


With so many ice cream flavors and ingredients now, all offsetting traditional melting points, the ice cream industry is familiar with the nuanced process of handling materials with very specific environmental needs and are now the experts helping to meet a worldwide need, making ice cream companies the newest member of the health care industry.

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