Emirates Prepares for Global Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine

The world is waiting for news that a COVID-19 vaccine has been developed.  Emirates Airlines is already preparing to distribute a vaccine globally.  It is claiming its cargo arm, Emirates SkyCargo, is the best airline for this task.

Why Emirates Should be Global Distributor of a COVID-19 Vaccine

Emirates SkyCargo Depot
Emirates SkyCargo Depot © Emirates

Emirates SkyCargo has announced that it will re-open its SkyCentral Dubai World Central. cargo depot.   It anticipates this will become a dedicated hub for cold chain storage and distribution of the vaccine.  The Emirates Air Cargo Vaccine Centre will be at Al Maktoum International Airport.  It will be the largest air facility in the world and dedicated to Covid-19 vaccines.  It includes an area of over 4000 square metres which can store around 10 million bottles of vaccine at one time.  And at a constant temperature between 2-8° C.

Dubai has become the preferred transit point with pharmaceutical customers thanks to continual investment in processes for the transport of heat-sensitive medicines.

According to the Supreme President and CEO of Emirates Airlines: “Dubai is ideally located as a gateway and distribution centre for vaccines (Covid-19) to the rest of the world. We have the infrastructure, logistical connections, and a geographic location that puts markets of more than two-thirds of the world’s population within an 8-hour plane radius.”

How Emirates Will Organise Worldwide Distribution of a COVID-19 Vaccine

Emirates Airbus A380
Emirates Airbus A380 © Emirates

Emirates SkyCargo already has a dedicated rapid response team to coordinate requests from various international organisations involved in the worldwide distribution of vaccines.  And it has the world’s largest fleet of reefer containers.  They protect heat-sensitive cargoes as they move them from storage facilities to the aircraft.  A large number of temperature-controlled parking bays close to aircraft stands ensure the fast, efficient handling of the vaccines.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic Emirates Airlines’ large, modern fleet was covering more than 130 destinations across six continents.  It has been working hard to restore its global network.  Services resumed to 75 destinations in May.  This increased to 100 in July and by early October it had increased to 135.  As soon as vaccine production and circulation begin Emirates will be able, through regular and charter flights, to transport vaccines worldwide.  But the big question is when will this be possible?

When Will Worldwide Distribution of a COVID-19 Vaccine Begin?

Emirates Boeing 777-300
Emirates Boeing 777-300 © Emirates

More than 100 COVID-19 vaccines are being developed.  A number of these are in the human trial phase.  The World Health Organisation is working in collaboration with scientists, business, and global health organisations to speed up the pandemic response. COVAX will facilitate the equitable access and distribution of these vaccines to protect people in all countries when a safe and effective vaccine is available. However, this is not likely to happen before spring 2021.  Emirates will clearly be a front-runner to undertake this task.

Do you think Emirates should get the contract to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine? Maybe it should be shared amongst all airlines with a cargo arm?  Add your views to the comments.

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