Storage and transportation of COVID-19 vaccines will be far from being an easily accomplished task. The scale of the upcoming distribution challenges are immense, and the air industry will need to start prepping from now itself. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Governments all over the world need to start work on restoring air routes and have the infrastructure in place to ensure air cargo is ready for large-scale handling and transport of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Delivering billions of doses of a vaccine that must be transported and stored in a deep-frozen state to the entire world efficiently will involve hugely complex logistical challenges across the supply chain,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director-General and CEO of IATA (International Air Transport Association).

“While the immediate challenge is the implementation of COVID-19 testing measures to re-open borders without quarantine, we must be prepared for when a vaccine is ready.”

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Temperature controlled

According to IATA’s report, key challenges for vaccine distribution are the availability of temperature-controlled storage facilities or alternative solutions, and in defining the responsibilities of all parties involved in the “largest and most complex global logistics operation” ever undertaken.

IATA said that re-establishing air connectivity and having better border management are crucial to transporting the vaccine. “Vaccines are highly valuable commodities - arrangements must be in place to ensure that shipments remain secure from tampering and theft,” said the IATA report. “Processes are in place already, but the huge volume of vaccine shipments will require early planning to ensure that they are scalable”