Army Issues $25M Sole-Source Contract to Monitor COVID-19 Vaccine Temperatures


The contract is part of the governmentwide effort to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are safely delivered.

The U.S. Army has issued a $25 million sole-source contract to Controlant Global—based in Iceland—to provide global on-site temperature monitoring for COVID-19 vaccine distributions for as many as 300 million Americans.

According to the award notice, the contract was issued Nov. 25 under a Special Emergency Procurement authorized by President Donald Trump, superseding a traditional full and open government procurement due to “an unusual and compelling urgency” posed by COVID-19.

The contract—funded through the CARES Act—is part of a joint effort by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense and the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Office of Health and Human Services to track and monitor COVID-19 vaccines to administration sites within and outside the United States.

To be effective, vaccines must be kept at extremely cold temperatures throughout the entirety of the distribution process. Pfizer-BioNtech’s coronavirus vaccine, which awaits an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Moderna’s must be kept at minus 20 degrees Celsius.

According to the award notice, Controlant Global possesses an unspecified technology “used for monitoring and tracking contents in transit and in storage, through a live monitoring central control facility along with a push notification on product condition and temperature variations.” The type of technology, as well as other information about the company’s products, are redacted in the notice, though the Army does stipulate it will provide these services from the company’s headquarters in Kópavogur, Iceland. Controlant Global is currently used by Pfizer for their shipping containers, according to the notice.

“Cold chains have become vital for modern supply chain solutions, transporting larger volumes of more sensitive or vital cargo over greater distances through diverse climatic conditions,” the notice states. “Being prone to environmental variations, COVID-19 vaccine needs to be maintained at specific temperatures or within an acceptable temperature range, as temperature excursions beyond acceptable ranges require the vaccine to be discarded/destroyed.”

The period of performance for the contract runs through Nov. 24, 2021.