Coronavirus (COVID-19) Most Read

Fri 27 November 2020:

The aviation industry, plagued by the novel coronavirus pandemic, is ready to help in delivering a potential COVID-19 vaccine across the globe.

Experts calculate that the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as its global distribution and logistics, will be a challenging process, with 15,000 flights and 15 million cooler boxes needed to transport every 10 billion doses.

“Distribution of the vaccine will be very challenging, especially for vaccines that require extreme cold-temperature storage,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Therefore, many parts of the world may get alternative vaccines such as the Astra Zeneca version which does not require such cold storage, he underlined, adding that this would be a major public health undertaking irrespective of which vaccine is chosen for a given country.

“Countries will have to be very transparent with their populations when it comes to the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

“They will also need to articulate who will get the vaccine first and how that prioritization was determined.”

 Passenger seats removed

This will be the largest and most complex logistics campaign of all time and, at the same time for the airlines, the “signal of a turning point that our industry has been waiting for so long,” said Lufthansa CEO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) chairman Carsten Spohr.

“The industry is ready and proud to do this,” he noted.

Like other airlines, Lufthansa has started to remove seats from passenger aircraft to be able to carry more of the valuable cargo, he noted.

He also said the airlines had not expected the vaccination to start until the middle of next year. “Now, it might be in December,” said Spohr.

German government asks for military’s help

Pfizer and BioNTech have reportedly completed their preparations for the distribution of the vaccine they produced in about 10 months.

The vaccine is envisaged to be distributed from Pfizer centers in the US, Germany and Belgium, then shipped by road and air and kept in certain distribution centers.

Germany’s federal government, in which the vaccine’s development was pioneered, asked its armed forces to help in the distribution efforts.

Frankfurt Airport will be a major transfer hub for the vaccines to be sent worldwide.

Also, the Fraport company, which operates Frankfurt Airport, has been preparing by establishing a working group in March for the logistics of the vaccine.

The Deutsche Post has been making extensive preparations as well to avoid any problems in the logistics.

In the coming weeks, UNICEF is also assessing existing transport capacity to identify gaps and future requirements. The procurement, delivery and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken. UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and deliver vaccines from manufacturers that have agreements with the COVAX Facility. In collaboration with PAHO, UNICEF will coordinate the purchase and delivery for 92 low- and lower middle-income economies as quickly and securely as possible.

Since January, UNICEF has delivered more than $190 million worth of Covid-19 supplies such as masks, gowns, oxygen concentrators and diagnostic test kits in support of countries as they respond to the pandemic.




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