1. Paul Dowling
  2. Supply chain & logistics
  3. Thursday, 17 September 2015

Dear Colleagues

Is there any guidance (ideally offical and/or anecdotal) on transportation of non cold chain items in refrigerated vehicles?

Assuming vehicles have space, (are making journeys less than half full), are there any concerns about transporting non cold chain, vaccine related supplies (syringes etc.) together with vaccines?

There are of course programmatic benefits to transporting these items together but can they compromise the cold chain due to their being at ambient temperature?

If yes, would leaving them overnight in a cold room alleviate this?

(All of this assuming best practices in loading and storing items)

Does WHO or any other bodies have formal guidance on this? (I am unable to find this specifically)

Are there any general industry guidelines or best practices?


Paul Dowling

Vaccine Supply Chain Transiiton Project, Ethiopia

John Snow, Inc.

Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

Dear William,

thanks however note that although cold rooms and refrigerated trucks are equipped with thermostats to regulate temperature, temperature monitoring is critical to ensure that there is assurance and vaccines are not being damaged. A temperature mapping exercise is required for any space allocated for the storage and handling of vaccines since they have a specified labelled storage temperature. This includes freezer rooms, cold rooms, temperature-controlled storage areas and receiving and loading bays. Just had two questions;

1- With adjusting the portions (cold storage) of these trucks are we sure of the temperature distribution within the truck?

2- Secondly, due to the frequency of movement of the chambers (ware and tire) is there no possibility that moisture/ dampnesswill cross over to the dry suppliers hence cause damage?



  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain & logistics
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

Thanks William - this is most helpful

We have recieved a similar recommendation from some consultants but good to hear of a program that has implemented this

Do you have specifications for the partitions?

And did you have to do any temperature qualification to ensure they had no impact on the temperature profile of your trucks?

Finally, do you trucks have a side door or do staff access the cold part through the ambient part?

A lof of questions, I know, feel free to respond to my email if you prefer

[email protected]

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain & logistics
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

In Uganda we are currently using 40cbm refrigetared trucks to transport both cold storage vaccines and their accompaying supplies like syringes and safey boxes. These trucks have a moving partion within the storage compartment. The partion can be totaly removed if one wishes to transport non-cold chain items. Alternatlively, if the volume of vaccines is too small to fill the entire 40 cbm space, then the partioning wall is moved and adjusted to seal off just enough space for the cold storage. The remaining space is then used to store syringes, diluents and safety boxes. In that way we are able to transport both cold and non-cold storage items on the same truck.

Currently the NVS in Uganda has six such trucks and Gavi is procuring for us an additional four

For details please dont hesitate to contact me on

[email protected]

William Musubire

Vaccine Store Management Officer

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain & logistics
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

I can’t find any guidance on this specific aspect of supply chain integration, although others may be able to point out something I’ve missed. The following may or may not be of interest to you, but I do know that Project Optimize produced several documents on the wider topic of supply chain integration (not specifically transportation of non-cold chain items in refrigerated vehicles). I list these below in case you are unfamiliar with them.

Integrating the supply chains of vaccines and other health commodities

This evidence brief examines the benefits, challenges, and rationale for integrating vaccine supply chains with the supply chains of other health commodities. It provides agencies, donors, decision-makers, and partners with a brief overview of supply chain integration and lessons learned during project Optimize’s demonstration activities in Senegal and Tunisia.


Integration of vaccine supply chains with other health commodity supply chains: A framework for decision-making

This project Optimize document provides national immunization program managers, their technical support staff, policymakers in ministries of health, and global agencies involved in vaccine and health product supply chains with a better understanding of the benefits and potential risks of integrating vaccine supply chains with other health commodity supply chains. It can also be used as a resource to guide the alignment and coordination of various international initiatives around supply chain integration.


The Senegal Report and Tunisia Report contain more details on the various demonstration projects conducted by Project Optimize relating to integration. 

"Between 2009 and 2012, project Optimize worked with the ministries of health in Senegal and Tunisia to document and demonstrate efforts to integrate vaccine products with other health commodities at both national and subnational levels. In Senegal, the immunization program attempted full product integration at the national level. The immunization program transferred the functions of vaccine receiving, storage, and distribution to the national pharmaceutical distribution center (called PNA). Additionally, in the region of Saint Louis, the immunization program transferred responsibility for vaccine storage from the regional vaccine store to the regional medical store. From there, two delivery trucks, called moving warehouses, were employed to transport vaccines and other health products monthly to more than 100 health centers and posts, bypassing district warehouses and saving health personnel time spent collecting vaccines from higher-level stores. The moving warehouses were equipped with computer equipment and software to track stock levels and consumption and with staff to provide technical assistance and supportive supervision while replenishing stock."

Optimize: Senegal Report


Optimize: Tunisia Report


  1. more than a month ago
  2. Supply chain & logistics
  3. # 4
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