vaccine glass bottles

COVID-19 Vaccine Packaging Supply Chain: Is It Ready Now?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe shortages in various industries all over the world. The primary reason behind such shortages is that the pandemic has adversely disturbed the packaging supply chain.

In fact, each and every industry has been impacted in one way or another. Different industries and suppliers like pharmaceutical packaging manufacturers are preparing for the availability of the vaccines to make sure the shortages and bottlenecks are prevented.

Moreover, it is also important to note that most of the packaging suppliers have also established new production plants and processes to meet the rising demand in the packaging industry.

As these companies and production plants start reopening, there is a very high chance that most of the suppliers will be able to meet the demands.

Let’s discuss some of the current trends in the packaging industry.


1. Glass Vials

Vials are the most popular type of packaging material in the pharmaceutical industry. Glass vials are used for packaging a variety of vaccines for a long time now. A survey indicates that more than 50 billion borosilicate glass vials are manufactured on an annual basis.

It is highly expected that most of the COVID-19 vaccine production companies will use this type of packaging.

Experts are predicting that there will be no significant shortage of glass vials because they are being produced in a massive quantity. Moreover, many COVID-19 vaccine companies are in direct contact with the glass vial production companies to meet the expected requirements.

Another factor is that most of the pharmaceutical packaging manufacturers have continued to operate in the pandemic due to the massive demand for PPEs, masks, and other such important products.

The production trends of the glass vials are also indicating that many manufacturers have actually increased their production capacity. In fact, most of the companies are fully ready to tackle the challenges associated with the supply chain and meet the rising demand.

2. Role of Inspection

Companies have also sped up their production processes by implementing modern automated optical inspection methods and robotic packing. The modern trends indicate that creating production lines equipped with quick vision inspection systems have provided a significant boost in the productivity and output of the production plants.

Therefore, premium-quality glass vials are being produced and supplied in the market.


3. Automation

Automating most of the production processes also leads to a considerable improvement in the packaging supply chain. This kind of automation includes using state-of-the-art bottle capping machines and liquid filling machines to make sure such basic actions are performed on a quick basis.


4. Funds from the Government

The production of glass vials is also enjoying massive benefits from the fact that global organizations and different governments have allocated a significant amount of budget toward the production of glass vials and other necessary products for the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Even in October 2020, it was projected that tens of millions of vials would be shipped to the vaccine developers to prevent the shortage and meet the requirements.

Major companies and pharmaceutical packaging manufacturers have also committed to the fact that they will keep scaling manufacturing for the at least next three years to meet the rapidly increasing customer demand.


5. Fused-quartz Vials

Other than the traditional glass vials, fused-quartz vials are also quite popular for packaging different vaccines. Such vials are ready-to-use and have a quicker production cycle. However, the manufacturing of fused-quartz vials can be quite expensive, due to which scalability is very expensive in their production processes.

These vials are typically used for the packaging of sensitive vaccines and drugs that can adversely react or change on getting in contact with even the trace elements. Many COVID-19 vaccine production companies are using these vials in the initial stages of testing the vaccine in the laboratory.


6. Caps and Stoppers

Stoppers, seals, and caps are required to properly seal the vial. However, there has been a significant shortage in the supply of these products during the pandemic.

A significant allocation of financial resources and using modern bottle capping machines has allowed the companies to improve their production cycles and meet the rising demand.


The Bottom Line

The modern trends of the packaging industry, especially among the pharmaceutical packaging manufacturers, show that the packaging supply chain is now ready to meet the rising global demand and supply the COVID-19 vaccine rather smoothly.

More and more organizations and production plants are scaling up manufacturing. In other words, the companies are now equipped to deal with the numerous challenges of the packaging supply chain.

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