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News | May 7, 2021

DLA reservists support vaccine cold-chain management

By Tech. Sgt Michael Smith DLA Joint Reserve Force

Reservists at Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support are helping monitor COVID-19 vaccine temperatures as the agency ships thousands of doses to Defense Department employees outside the continental United States and the deployed U.S. Navy Fleet amid warmer weather.

Vaccines are shipped from stateside DLA Distribution centers in insulated packaging with cold packs designed to maintain temperatures according to manufacturer specifications. Shipments include monitors that track temperatures during transit and cold packs are refreshed during cross docking at overseas DLA Distribution locations for final movement to customers.

Joint Reserve Force members are recording temperature-monitor data at DLA Troop Support in Philadelphia and working with manufacturers to return monitors for reset and reuse.

“The COVID-19 protocols require a series of two vaccines per person, which effectively increases the workload required of the medical staff and need for additional JRF support,” said Army Col. Greg Smith, DLA Troop Support JRF Directorate chief.

Reservists have a long-term role in vaccine distribution by providing quality assurance for annual flu vaccines. In fiscal 2020, the team processed and monitored 3.5 million doses or 76% of all doses shipped to U.S. government facilities worldwide, he said.

“As for COVID-19 vaccines, they have a dramatically higher requirement for in-transit controls, tighter windows of acceptable conditions and increased quality assurance monitoring requirements,” Smith added, emphasizing that DLA’s reservists have supported the nation’s pandemic response since the agency began supporting military and federal agencies last spring.