When the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) called Camosun Innovates, they were looking for help with a problem, and knew they were contacting someone they could trust. Early in the pandemic, the team had produced a highly effective face shield for BCCDC.
This time, the problem was how to re-package and distribute accurate numbers of Pfizer vaccines across the province while maintaining controlled temperatures.
“The BCCDC knew about us and knew that we had responded very quickly to local [pandemic-related] needs prior to this, says Camosun Innovates director Richard Gale. “They called us out of the blue and said ‘we’re running into this problem with the new Pfizer vaccines and we’re hoping that you guys can create a solution for us.’
“We immediately sat down, put our heads together and brought a group of folks — technicians, engineers —together to talk about the problem, look at the dimensions we were working with and what materials we had available to us locally.”
The current transport boxes can hold trays of up to 150 vials. Pharmacists need to be able to count those vials at a glance — and the vials can’t be out of the cooler for more than three minutes. The design solution was to create a 100-vial tray, divided into quarters of 25 slots for quick inventory. They later added small feet to each opening to stabilize the vials.
To make it even easier to transfer the vials in the allocated time, the team designed a grabber tool — like giant scissors that flare out at the tips instead of coming to a point — that hold five vials at a time.
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