As COVID-19 vaccine trials across various countries nearly reach the last stage of the trial, IATA warns governments of the challenges of safely distributing the same across the globe. By Tanvi Jain

 

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently said that 8,000 Boeing 747 will be needed to ship COVID-19 vaccine all over the world. “The potential size of the delivery is enormous. Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft. Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use of air cargo,” it recently mentioned in a press release. 

Now that many vaccines are already under trial, IATA wants the Government to be fully prepared for transportation once they are ready for distribution. 

Commenting on the same, IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said, “Safely delivering COVID-19 vaccine 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. We urge governments to take the lead in facilitating cooperation across the logistics chain so that the facilities, security arrangements and border processes are ready for the mammoth and complex task ahead.” 

 

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“Delivering billions of doses of vaccine to the entire world efficiently will involve hugely complex logistical and programmatic obstacles all the way along the supply chain. We look forward to working together with government, vaccine manufacturers and logistical partners to ensure an efficient global roll-out of a safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, added. 

The airline body further urged the Government to start planning in a way that factors such as temperature, handling and security of the vaccine are not compromised at any level. 

 

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“Vaccines must be handled and transported in line with international regulatory requirements, at controlled temperatures and without delay to ensure the quality of the product. While there are still many unknowns (number of doses, temperature sensitivities, manufacturing locations, etc.), it is clear that the scale of activity will be vast, that cold chain facilities will be required and that delivery to every corner of the planet will be needed,” IATA said.

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