elderly lady getting COVID injection from nurse

No matter which part of the country you live in, you’ll know that while Australia has kept a fairly good handle on the spread of the COVID-19 virus especially in comparison to other countries, none of us have been immune to its consequences.

  • We’ve experienced lockdowns and restrictions, disruption to our businesses and social lives, travel bans and ongoing uncertainty.
  • We’ve watched our friends in Melbourne live through a harsh second lockdown and our friends in Sydney face an uncertain Christmas.
  • We’ve seen families unable to reunite across State lines, weddings cancelled and funerals unattended.

Now, we’re all holding our breaths as pharmaceutical trials for an effective vaccine look more and more promising. However, even if the vaccine gets the all clear, another ongoing concern is “the damage to our supply chains”.

Australia has long been a country that relies on imported products. In 2019, according to The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), 19% of Australia’s imports came from China in 2019. As you’ll no doubt be aware, at the beginning of 2020, the Chinese Government halted all trade in and out of China when the virus first emerged. Despite operations being scheduled to resume early in the year, ongoing political tensions as well as the continual spread of the virus across the world have kept things far from normal. In many sectors, supply chains have been pushed to breaking point. Sporadic and incomplete deliveries aren’t enough to meet the demands.

Now, more than ever, Australian-made products are crucial. Without Australian-manufactured cold chain packaging systems, distributing the COVID-19 vaccine safely around the country in large volumes won’t be possible.

Cold Chain packing for Vaccines and pharmaceuticals

Fortunately, CoolPac, a Cold Chain Temperature Packaging specialist, has been preparing for the vaccine’s distribution for months – and inadvertently for years. While many companies are quickly working to adapt and repair their supply chain with local alternatives, we’ve been manufacturing our products right here in Australia for almost twenty years. Located in Doveton, Victoria, we are a proudly Australian-owned business that has always sourced our supplies locally. For us, disruption to global supply chains hasn’t affected Business As Usual. In fact, we’ve secured six months’ worth of raw materials in anticipation of further restrictions and higher demand from our customers.

With a local chain of Australian suppliers, we are able to conduct thorough quality checks and source quality materials without limitations within Australia. This means we’re ready and able to supply Australian Made Cold Chain Temperature Packaging systems that will facilitate the safe distribution all across the country as soon as we receive the green light on an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

CoolPac is available for online and telephone support during this pandemic. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Stay safe.


CoolPac is proudly owned and operated in Australia with a 20-year legacy as part of the pharmaceutical supply chain. We come from the pharmaceutical industry and we understand the pharmaceutical industries needs’.

We aim to be a model for disaster preparedness as you reassess and reconnect with suppliers and customers.

Wishing you the very best as you stay safe and healthy.

range of CoolPac Temperature Packing Systems
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The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) is a nonprofit organization that researches and tests various packaging formats. It develops also standards for the packaging transport industry.  The ISTA is the industry leader in package performance testing and is at the forefront of Responsible Transport Packaging. With extensive research and testing behind the ISTA standards, many companies are requesting that their packaging be tested to specific ISTA standards. Most importantly manufacturers of cold chain packaging can test with ISTA ambient profiles and demonstrate the performance of their systems.  As a result, customers can then compare alternative suppliers’ packaging performance with the same ambient challenge.

Cold Chain Packaging Operational Qualification

The ISTA ambient profiles are a great place to start Operational Qualification (OQ) testing.  Many cold chain packaging manufacturers  “pre-qualify” the  shipping system using representative payloads and test to ISTA’a summer and winter profiles. The ISTA is an international organisation with a heavy influence from the USA.  It has a broad scope that encompasses packaging and transport standards but pertinent to this conversation is a sub-group focusing on pharmaceuticals.  This sub-group is active in the preparation of guidelines that can be useful in the industry.  Some of the more informative are:-
  • Temperature profiles for summer and winter in North America
  • Temperature profiles for summer and winter in Europe

Why use ISTA Standards?

We recommend using the ISTA standards because they allow performance comparison between different types of packaging and between different types of pack-outs.  It allows companies to test packaging from one supplier against the standard and to compare packaging from one supplier against another supplier.

More Information

Environmental chambers are used to create a challenging ambient temperature to qualify the cold chain shippers.
CoolPac are specialists in pharmaceutical cold chain.  We consult, test, manufacture and source the best aspects of cold chain products while keeping a pharmaceutical perspective.  It’s with these key competencies that bring added value to your business.   Want to know more about CoolPac click here.

Ewan McGregor’s Cold Chain Mission has aired on the BBC seven years ago. Ewan is an ambassador for UNICEF, and in the two-part documentary, it shows some of the difficulties in delivering medicines to remote communities. It is an interesting journey for anyone involved in Pharmaceutical Distribution or cold chain. It makes our complexities of last-mile quite simple.

Ewan McGregor assisting nurse administer medicine to a child.

It’s been several years since I watched Ewan McGregor’s Cold Chain Mission, (produced by the BBC). In the 2 part series, he follows the journey of the delivery of vaccines along 3 of the world’s most difficult cold chains. It reinforced to me, how vitally important our work here at CoolPac is when designing, validating and manufacturing our own temperature controlled packaging.

Keeping temperatures of products between 2 – 8 Degrees C for extended periods of time in extreme conditions is a difficult task BUT an important one.

Ewan McGregor walking through rainforest and rivers to deliver medicines to remote communities
Ewan McGregor delivering medicines to remote communities.

From a professional point of view, the way the vaccines were packed and kept cool in the documentary was not ideal- but that was 7 years ago in 2012. Typically, polystyrene boxes are half as insulating as Polyurethane Boxes. The lower insulation results in gel packs melting faster.

It was comforting to see that the vaccines had temperature indicators in each shipper, which gives some indication if the product has had temperature excursions.

Ewan McGregor’s cold chain program was very uplifting. It showed the dedication of cold chain distributors and the progress UNICEF & WHO have made in distributing vaccines to our children of the world; many of whom live in very difficult circumstances and conditions. The Cold Chain Mission gives a real insight into cold chain transport & distribution in third world countries and the challenges faced along the way.

Want to see more of the documentary? Click below:

CoolPac designs and manufactures insulated shipping systems, similar to those used in Ewan’s and Unicef’s journey. They are used to transport medicines all around Australia from cities to rural regional outback towns.

For more information on CoolPac’s products and services please visit here.

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