Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus: Emirates says it has facilities to transport Pfizer's Covid vaccine

Allan Jacob (Senior Editor)/Dubai Filed on November 15, 2020

Emirates is working on moving Pfizer's vaccine in special containers on its planes.

Emirates is gearing up to transport Covid-19 vaccines across the world. These include Pfizer's jab that is purported to be more than 90 per cent effective against the coronavirus.

In an interview to CNBC, Tim Clark, the President of the Dubai-based carrier, said Emirates is working on moving Pfizer's vaccine in special containers on its planes.

The vaccine frontrunnner must be stored under -70 Degree Celsius for optimal efficiency, and the Emirates president said the carrier had the facilities for the task.

“We’re working on trying to move this Pfizer vaccine in specially designed containers on our planes, in our holds, and in the cabins, and keeping them at that level through the distribution point,” Clark said.

“We have the chillers, we have the freezers, we have the logistical control for the airline to get these vaccines into multiple parts of the world where others cannot.”

He said Pfizer's vaccine would have a positive impact of the revival of the aviation industry and the global ecnomy as a whole.

While admitting that there are challenges in transporting vaccines, he sounded optimistic and said Emirates is best placed to undertake this logistical challenge. There is a global imperative to get this done, he said.

"The industry is trying to establish best practice involving the third-party supply chain and this logistical exercise, to ensure we get them (vaccines) to the markets that need them so badly, and basically that’s the whole planet,” Clark said.

Last week, Pfizer said its breakthrough experimental vaccine was more efficacious than the others in the vaccine race.

The vaccine, developed with BioNTech appeared to be safe and its manufacturers are expected to seek US authorisation for its emergency use by December.

Meanwhile, US states, cities, and hospitals are scrambling to buy ultra-cold freezers that can safely store Pfizer Inc's Covid-19 vaccine, ignoring advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to hold off, according to Reuters.

Days after Pfizer made the announcement, Russia claimed its Sputnik-V vaccine had achieved 92 per cent efficiency in phase 3 trials.

In September, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747s would be needed to transport vaccines across the world after they are cleared for use by regulatory authorities and the WHO.

IATA is coordinating with airlines, airports and governments for a massive global airlift effort. This programme is based on the assumption that only one dose per person is needed.

"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," said IATA's chief executive Alexandre de Juniac.


Allan Jacob

A news junkie with an abiding interest in foreign affairs. I'm a keen follower and learner of the media and how it will pan out in the future when the common man and woman will themselves be journalists and not just sources of information. Lead a team of bright journalists who are driving the change and have their feet on the ground.

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