The UAE has cemented its position as a global logistics hub to facilitate regional and global distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine with the launch of the Hope Consortium and the Vaccine Logistics Alliance, experts said.
“These initiatives are collaborating, and combining the expertise and resources of participating groups and companies to coordinate, facilitate, and support the different steps of the logistical requirements and safe transportation of the vaccines worldwide,” said Jack Muhs, regional president of FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa. “It is an honor to be part of the Hope Consortium, which represents a complete supply chain solution to address vaccine transport, demand planning, sourcing, training, and digital technology infrastructure, to make the vaccine rapidly available across the world. This is truly who we are and what we do.”
Muhs added that he believed that the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine is a marathon, not a sprint. The shipment of the vaccines is likely to take place in stages over a long period of time and collaboration between the active ingredient producers, vaccine manufacturers, the logistics sector, and government entities is crucial to its success. Significant preparation and planning, including contingency planning, is also needed at every stage of the process to ensure manufacturers have the ingredients they need to produce the vaccines, and transportation to get those vaccines in the hands of those who will administer them quickly and safely.
“We recognise that the global transportation of vaccines will be among the most important work in the history of our company, and FedEx is working closely with healthcare customers alongside government officials and regulatory agencies to prepare for the shipment of the vaccines when they are approved and ready,” Muhs said.
Elaborating on FedEx’s role in distribution and the safe and efficient transportation of the vaccines, Muhs noted that it is critical to have the right packaging for the job. “We have our own solutions, but we also work closely with manufacturers who also use their own packaging. Where required, we will have the capability to access the right storage solution, to protect the package and product.”
For example, of all vaccines approved for use, some need to be stored at a temperature between -80°C and -60°C, others need to be stored between -25º to -15ºC, and another may only need to be stored at a standard refrigerator temperature of 2˚C to 8˚C.
“Our role is to ensure we marry the right logistics solutions with their specific need, and move these temperature-controlled packages to their distribution points safely and efficiently. In maintaining the temperature of the vaccine during transit, we have SenseAware technology – the latest near real-time tracking technology with the ability to monitor the status and location of shipments, and if needed intercede,” Muhs said.
Finally, he said that it takes an incredible team of pickup and delivery couriers and drivers who have been on the front line throughout the pandemic, moving not just vaccines, but Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other essential items that have kept businesses operating and our home life functioning through these unprecedented times. “In other words, our global network stands ready to ship the Covid-19 vaccine.”
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