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Covid vaccine: UAE leads global drive to ship 8 billion doses in two years

Ashwani Kumar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on March 26, 2021
Reuters file photo

Abu Dhabi, Dubai collaboration has been the driving force behind this effort.

The UAE has become the hub for Covid-19 vaccine distribution, as the country leads the global drive to ship 8 billion doses over the next two years, top officials said.

Dr Omar Najim, Executive Office Director, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, said the strong partnership between Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance and Abu Dhabi’s HOPE Consortium has been the driving force behind this effort.

“We, along with our brothers and sisters in Dubai, have been transporting millions of vaccines through Abu Dhabi and Dubai, around the world,” Dr Najim said during a panel discussion at the US-UAE Business Council.

“At many times, vaccines arrive in Dubai and they get transported to Abu Dhabi and from there gets shipped somewhere else if needed and vice versa.”

Dr Najim revealed a medical devices firm based in the industrial area of Mussafah is playing a key role in the logistics cooperation between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and bolstering the COVAX global vaccine sharing scheme.

“In the International Humanitarian City, vaccines arrive from manufacturing places such as India or others and are packaged with needles and syringes and shipped to the destination country. 25 per cent of all the needles and syringes that COVAX is going to use - which is 2 billion - are coming from Abu Dhabi Medical Devices Company. So, things get manufactured in Abu Dhabi, needles and syringes go to JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) or DP World, they get bundled with the vaccine and get shipped by Emirates. So, we and Emirates as well as other airlines and other entities are working together in order to achieve the global goal of getting out of this pandemic as fast and possible,” Dr Najim said while highlighting challenges in transporting 8 billion doses in the next two years.

“It is expected that about 4 billion out of the 7 billion population of the earth will be required to be vaccinated in order for all of us to stamp out this pandemic. The 4 billion on average are going to require each one of the two doses; that means you need 8 billion doses to be transported around the world.”

Shaima Gargash, Deputy Chief of Mission, the UAE Embassy in Washington D.C., underlined said that the UAE was playing a stellar role in getting vaccine delivered to less developed countries.

“Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium and Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance are two successful models of the UAE’s collaborative response to the global pandemic. Both of these initiatives provide the much-needed supply chain solution that not only address how Covid-19 vaccines are manufactured and stored, but also how they are distributed to populations that need them the most,” she said.

Dennis Lister, Vice President of Cargo Commercial Development at Emirates Sky Cargo, said both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi entities have been working “very well together”.

“Both goals and mission from a UAE standpoint is essentially how we get these vaccines out to the people that need them the most. The key part if you look at the International Humanitarian City, it is based right in the middle between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And that’s a real good connection and a good feed because they are one of the largest humanitarian cities in the world that could provide aid and support and vaccines to a lot of these developing countries.”

Lister underlined that the UAE is in a great position to reach out to all those countries and people that need vaccines.

“We have the capability and the infrastructure in the UAE to basically support all those manufacturers, all the partners to reach these different countries in different developing markets. We have to roll up our sleeves and engage and use the technical capabilities and expertise we have across all the dimensions in the UAE.”

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com





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