Yesterday, April 28, 2021, DB Schenker delivered the millionth COVID-19 vaccine dose to a vaccination center in Saxony. The recipient was the German Red Cross, which carries out immunizations at several local vaccination centers. “More people can be vaccinated every day. We are pleased that DB Schenker can play a role here with its logistics expertise,” says Heiko Löwe, Head of Special Transport at DB Schenker in Dresden.
The German Red Cross has been providing immunization to people in Saxony for almost five months. Since the vaccinations began, DB Schenker has been distributing the vaccines to the association’s 13 permanent vaccination centers. “When the request came on the second Christmas day of 2020, we were there and responded immediately – that’s important for a job like this, of course,” says Löwe. “This flexibility is part of our daily business and is highly appreciated by our customers.”
Around 600 German Red Cross employees are active in 13 stationary and two temporary vaccination centers in the country. While 1,173 vaccinations a day were given out at the beginning of January, around 15,000 vaccinations are now possible every day under full capacity, including on public holidays. Starting in May, the number of daily vaccinations is expected to increase to 20,000.
This is a huge effort that the organizers can only manage because doctors, medical staff, security, the German Armed Forces, German Red Cross employees and logisticians have become a well-coordinated team. “The organization of this mammoth task, which is both highly complex and existential for society as a whole, is an expression of the efficiency of our networked aid system and the incredible commitment of everyone involved,” explains Rüdiger Unger, Chairman of the Board of the German Red Cross State Association of Saxony.
Close cooperation throughout the supply chain
DB Schenker ensures that the vaccination centers are supplied on time and distributes the vaccine through express shipments. In the process, DB Schenker’s logistics experts work closely with the German Red Cross specialists. In the event of short-term challenges, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief also gets involved. IT specialists from Telekom, T-System, ServiceNow and SAP ensure that appointments can be booked and vaccines are provided with all the necessary information.
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The vaccines are ordered in advance by the vaccination centers according to the booked appointments. On the day of delivery, precisely counted quantities are ready on schedule in sealed refrigerated boxes at the German Red Cross’s Dresden distribution center. DB Schenker takes them to their destination on five different routes. A particular challenge here is to precisely maintain the cold chains in order to preserve the effectiveness of the temperature-sensitive vaccine doses.
Logistics service provider DB Schenker transports not only vaccines against the virus in numerous countries around the world but also other medical cargo. Recently, the transport of an entire vaccine filling line to the USA generated widespread media coverage.