UPS supports distribution of approved COVID-19 vaccine
Following last weeks announcement made by that the logistics company was commissioned by the German federal state to manage the logistics for the COVID-19 vaccine, UPS has announced that it will be supporting the distribution of the approved vaccine in the US as part of Operation Warp Speed.
In the announcement, UPS reported that it will be involved - and fully support - the distribution efforts of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as part of Operation Warp Speed. Following its apporval via a US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorisation (EUA), Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first to be deployed in the US to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Vaccine distribution is a key part of moving our world forward by delivering what matters. We have dedicated and hardworking people around the world who have been trained to store, handle, transport and deliver vaccines. We’re pleased to support our healthcare partners with smart, efficient logistics for these vaccines that will protect communities and save lives,” commented Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS.
As part of its efforts in the logistics, UPS will move the vaccine to states designated by Pfizer, Inc. based on orders received by Operation Warp Speed and CDC officials. The vacine will originate from Michigan and Wisconsin storage sites, and transported to UPS Worldport facilities in Louisville. Following the transportation, the vaccone will be expeditied ‘Next Day Air’ to hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities, to inoculate healthcare workers.
“This is the moment of truth we’ve been waiting for at UPS. We have spent months strategizing with Operation Warp Speed officials and our healthcare customers on efficient vaccine logistics, and the time has arrived to put the plan into action,” added Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare.
“This is undoubtedly a historic feat not only for vaccine development but also expedient deployment. We know that agile, world-class logistics is critical to get our products where they are needed, and we’re happy to partner with UPS in this historic effort to save lives and create healthier communities right now and well into the future,” concluded Mike McDermott, President, Pfizer Global Supply.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.