Seattle-based tech’s tracking device could ensure smarter global distribution of vaccine

The three makers of the coming life-saving COVID-19 vaccine claim there will be enough doses for you, and everyone else on earth who will take it.

Because the Pfizer vaccine has to be kept extremely cold (94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) and must be used within days, a Seattle-based tech company identified how they can help track every precious drop as it’s being delivered globally.

“I think we’ve still got one problem to go, which is we’ve got to get it to the people,” said Howard Trott, CEO of Recon Dynamics. “And that’s certainly where we’re focused right now.”

Trott’s company, which already builds tracking devices for heavy machinery, tools and fleet vehicles for utility and construction companies, invented a smart tracking device called the VacTrak designed to monitor every movement and exact temperature of every vial of vaccine, anywhere on earth via satellite in real time.

“We can actually monitor the small package that holds maybe 50 or 100 vials that is going all the way to somewhere in some village in a developing country,” Trott said, adding that the Seattle-based technology found a satellite communications partner in Globalstar to make the VacTrack effective in any spot on earth.

“We are facing one of the most challenging steps in battling the COVID-19 pandemic with billions of doses of the vaccine needing to be distributed around the world. We believe we can play an important role in ensuring success in that deployment,” Howard said.

The same communications networks we rely on in the US might not exist in remote places were the vaccine will be rushed to people via motorcycle, and a lot can go wrong if time and temperature are not closely monitored.

Satellite technology with the VacTrack can pinpoint all that vaccine info anywhere on the planet, with up to the minute reports.

Howard said the company is looking for partners to ensure the vaccines are not misrouted or stolen, and do not spoil for loss of temperature control.

“It’s maybe not where it’s supposed to be,” Howard said. “Maybe it got opened. Some of the vaccines are only allowed to be opened a minute or two while they’re using them, so we can monitor all those things from a technical standpoint and report that exception back. “If it got too cold or too hot. Both are a problem, we have that technology.”