Supply Chain Matters has provided many examples related to forms of supply chain resiliency strategies being practiced in many industry settings. Perhaps the clearest and most active support of sourcing resiliency is being focused on regional or domestic COVID-19 vaccine production, coupled with domestic or regional supply network capabilities.
Case in point, last week, MRNA vaccine producer Moderna announced an agreement to build a “state-of-the-art” production facility in Canada to produce COVID-19 vaccines along with other vaccines related illnesses such as seasonal influenza, respiratory diseases and other illnesses, pending licensure.
According to business media reports, the facility will be built, owned and operated by Moderna and the deal is predicated on securing long-term multi-year supply buying agreements from the government of Canada. The plant will reportedly be similar to Moderna’s manufacturing facility in Norwood Massachusetts.
Construction of the Canadian facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, and in the meantime, supply agreements will reportedly be fulfilled by Moderna’s U.S. production facilities.
Readers may recall that because of a lack of domestic MRNA vaccine production capability domestically, Canada was laggard in its ability to mobilize needed supplies to administer shots to the country’s population. That led to elongated restrictions among the country’s businesses and population until vaccine supplies could be ramped-up.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel indicated to reporters that the biologics producer is discussing additional deals with countries in Europe and Asia and could build upwards of five to ten such facilities globally to supply regional geographic vaccine needs.
Pfizer has in turn been ramping up production volumes of COVID-19 vaccines to help supply needs for global based populations to be vaccinated. On its web site, the vaccine producer indicates the following:
“We operate one of the most sophisticated supply chain systems in the industry, with over 40 Pfizer-owned sites and over 200 suppliers globally, which provides capacity and redundancy as needed. Our manufacturing and supply chain professionals have been working non-stop to ensure that the global supply of Pfizer medicines continue to be available to patients.”
Up to now, supply chain network capabilities have been boosted by government subsidies. As an example, in the United States, the war time Defense Production Act was utilized to help prioritize the supply of critical raw materials in shortage and is assist Merck and Company to produce supplementary supplies of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Similarly, needs for global wide supply have been supplemented by contract manufacturers marshalled to ramp-up both production and fill and finish vaccine needs.
Last week’s developments provides evidence that governments are taking more active measures to insure that needs for critical vaccines will not be gated solely by global based supply and production.
As new variants of COVID-19 continue to spread and with infection rates across the globe continuing to impact businesses, commerce and populations, the lessons of 2020 and of 2021 are being translated into broader supply chain resiliency needs on the part of nations to ensure that domestic needs for critical vaccines can be accommodated by domestic or nearshored facilities. Unlike Medical PPE which appears to be again driven by lowest cost supply, coronavirus and other vaccines developed to ward off deadly diseases indeed garner active supply chain resiliency strategies.
We would not at all be surprised if such actions spillover to supply networks for life-saving pharmaceutical and biologics
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