Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: Abu Dhabi aims to get the world vaccinated

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on August 16, 2021 | Last updated on August 16, 2021 at 11.49 pm
Picture retrieved from @etihad/Twitter

The Abu Dhabi consortium has provided 65 million vaccine doses to more than 40 countries.

From flying massive shipments of Covid-19 vaccines around the world, Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium will now be flying doctors and health experts who will ensure jabs are given where they are needed the most.

Hope Consortium on Monday launched an ‘in-country vaccination service programme’ that will support nations with limited resources; tackle vaccine wastage issues; and speed up global vaccination efforts.

So far, only 31.4 per cent of the world population have received at least one dose of a vaccine and just 23.6 per cent are fully vaccinated, according to figures on the ‘Our World in Data’ website on Monday.

Till date, the consortium — from its 19,000sqm warehouse facility — has provided 65 million vaccine doses to more than 40 countries.

With 70 per cent of the world yet to get a jab, the consortium’s new programme seeks to ensure that the vaccines it delivers will reach the communities in far-flung areas.

Apart from the end-to-end service of procuring and supplying the vaccines, it will now fly mobile ambulances and healthcare workers and establish field hospitals, in cooperation with the local health authorities.

The team will also train medical and logistical staff in destination countries to ensure that vaccination drives will continue.

Hope Consortium is partnering with Abu Dhabi-based Via Medica International Healthcare to combine vaccine distribution and administration.

“The in-country vaccination programme is an extension of the established Hope Consortium vaccination supply chain programme. What we do now is built on top of that service in partnership with a medical provider Via Medica, which has the capability and experience to support the programme. So, it is not simply the movement of vaccines through the supply chain but also the application of vaccinations in the community while working in partnership with the destination countries,” Robert Sutton, head of logistics cluster, Abu Dhabi Ports, told Khaleej Times.

“Eighty per cent of vaccine manufacturing is happening in Europe and North America, but 80 per cent of the rest of the world lives outside Europe,” he pointed out.

In some countries, especially in Africa, logistical challenges — from vaccine production and storage to harsh environments, poor roads and limited infrastructure — posed major hurdles, experts said during the Press conference for the programme’s launch.

Since March, the consortium and Via Medica have been working in Africa to establish vaccination hubs and administer vaccines. A team of 15 members, including doctors and nurses, are currently on the ground. And in the next stage, a 40-member team will be setting up regional vaccination centres, storage freezers and power generation units, along with two fully equipped mobile vaccination vehicles.

Logistics experts will ensure that the sensitive vaccine supplies are stored and handled in the required storage environments; thus, minimising the risk of wastage.

Two additional refrigerated vehicles will support the logistical component of the effort by transporting vaccines from the hub to the immunisation spokes to provide ample supplies.

Via Medica has a proven track record of deploying medical experts, setting up clinics and command centres, conducting PCR tests and vaccination drives in the UAE and abroad.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been at the forefront, deploying multiple mobile vaccination teams across Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Via Medica has been instrumental in supporting various governments and private sector companies...from serological testing to onsite mass RT-PCR swabbing and testing, combined with onsite Covid-19 vaccinations,” said Frank Ludick, CEO, international, Via Medica.

Via Medica will airlift more mobile vaccine unit vans and medical staff to Africa.

“We aim to counter the risks associated with a pandemic like Covid-19 through our rapid medical deployment teams, in-country temperature control procedures, and robust and integrated IT systems. Combining the Hope Consortium’s unique logistical capabilities and geographical proximity to 3.6 billion people, with Via Medica’s capabilities as a last-mile provider, we are mitigating potential vaccine spoilage and ensuring that vital vaccine supplies can reach the global community in the time of need,” Ludick added.

How Hope Consortium will speed up global vaccination

It will...

> Fly doctors and healthcare workers

> Deliver mobile ambulances

> Establish field hospitals

> Train medical and logistical staff in destination countries

> Ensure vaccine supplies are stored and handled in the required storage environments


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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