“The global shipping of the Covid vaccine is one of the industry’s biggest challenges,” the BBC quoted IATA as saying. It takes at least 8,000 Boeing 747 cargo air craft to transport enough vaccines around the world, International Air Transport Association has said. It also warns that this is an approximate number for a single dose per person.
Although the vaccine is not yet complete and has not reached mass production, it is working to reach a precise plan for the global distribution. It is working with airlines, airports, global health bodies and drug firms on an airlift plan. “Safely delivering Covid vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry. But it won’t happen without careful advance planning. And the time for that is now,” in this regard, IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.
In this situation, with airlines running short of passengers, they have shifted their focus to delivering cargo. But the transport of this vaccine is very complex and has special conditions. Not all aircraft are suitable for vaccine delivery. Some vaccines may require a temperature of 2 to 8C and some may require zero temperatures. As a result, the number of usable aircraft is limited and a small number are suitable. “We know the procedures well. What we need to do is scale them up to the magnitude that will be required,” added Glyn Hughes, the industry body’s head of cargo.
He also believes that flights to some areas are vital. Areas such as South East Asia that do not have the capacity to produce are a priority.
According to the BBC, the distribution of the vaccine in South Africa is impossible right now. The reason is the size of the region and the complexity of the border crossings. “Transportation will need “almost military precision” and will require cool facilities across a network of locations where the vaccine will be stored,” the BBC adds.
140 vaccines are in the early stages of production and twelve vaccines are in clinical trials.
It called on governments to plan now for public access to the vaccine. They must ensure the vaccine reaches every corner of the globe. Also, they should be aware that the issue of security is important. “Vaccines will be highly valuable commodities. Arrangements must be in place to keep ensure that shipments remain secure from tampering and theft,” in this regard, IATA added.
So far, 76 richest countries in the world have volunteered to work with the World Health Organization. The purpose of this collaboration is to help purchase and distribute the Corona vaccine fairly.