Time to prepare for Covid-19 vaccine transport is now: IATA

2020-09-14
/
/ Digital Desk
Time to prepare for Covid-19 vaccine transport is now: IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to begin careful planning with industry stakeholders to ensure full preparedness when vaccines for Covid-19 are approved and available for distribution. The association also warned of potentially severe capacity constraints in transporting vaccines by air.
Rate this post

Air cargo plays a key role in the distribution of vaccines in normal times through well-established global time and temperature-sensitive distribution systems. This capability will be crucial to the quick and efficient transport and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines when they are available, and it will not happen without careful planning, led by governments and supported by industry stakeholders.

“Safely delivering COVID-19 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. 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,” says IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

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 such as number of doses, temperature sensitivities, manufacturing locations, 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.

Priorities for preparing facilities for this distribution include availability of temperature-controlled facilities and equipment, maximising the use or re-purposing of existing infrastructure and minimising temporary builds; availability of staff trained to handle time and temperature-sensitive vaccines; and robust monitoring capabilities to ensure the integrity of the vaccines is maintained.

“The whole world is eagerly awaiting a safe Covid-19 vaccine. It is incumbent on all of us to make sure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to the initial doses when they are available. As the lead agency for the procurement and supply of the Covid-19 vaccine on behalf of the COVAX facility, UNICEF will be leading what could possibly be the world’s largest and fastest operation ever. The role of airlines and international transport companies will be critical to this endeavour,” says executive director of UNICEF Henrietta Fore.

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 air cargo.

“Even if we assume that half the needed vaccines can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its largest single transport challenge ever. In planning their vaccine programs, particularly in the developing world, governments must take very careful consideration of the limited air cargo capacity that is available at the moment. If borders remain closed, travel curtailed, fleets grounded and employees furloughed, the capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines will be very much compromised,” says de Juniac.

You may also like
PATA 2024 China summit sees participation of 450 delegates from across 29 destinations
PATA 2024 China summit sees participation of 450 delegates from across 29 destinations
Baggage mishandling reduced by nearly 60 pc between 2007-2022, says IATA
Baggage mishandling reduced by nearly 60 pc between 2007-2022, says IATA
With 15 pc growth & 46,000 attendees, ATM2024 sets new show record
With 15 pc growth & 46,000 attendees, ATM2024 sets new show record
Technology & innovation key to accommodate rising passenger numbers: ATM panel
Technology & innovation key to accommodate rising passenger numbers: ATM panel

Leave a Reply

Get Magazine