Over 15 airlines have signed an agreement with UNICEF, under its Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative, to support the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and other pandemic-related materials on priority to more than 100 countries, UNICEF said.
UNICEF added that this agreement with airlines will help UN’s unprecedented COVAX program to buy and deliver coronavirus vaccines for hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people. Also Read: COVID-19 pandemic: Learn to live with coronavirus as new variant is on course to ‘sweep the world’
“Delivery of these life-saving vaccines is a monumental and complex undertaking, considering the sheer volumes that need to be transported, the cold chain requirements, the number of expected deliveries and the diversity of routes,” said Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division.
Based on COVAX’s initial first-round allocation plan, UNICEF said 145 countries will receive doses to immunise around 3 per cent of their populations, on average, starting in the first half of 2021, “subject to all requirements being met and final allocation plans.” In addition to prioritizing COVID-19-related shipments, UNICEF said the airlines will take measures including ensuring temperature control and security as well as adding freight capacity to routes when needed. Also Read: Mucormycosis: A rare life-threatening fungal infection with 54% mortality rate detected in COVID-19 patients
Airlines that have signed the agreement include AirBridgeCargo, Air France/KLM, Astral Aviation, Brussels Airlines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Emirates Skycargo, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, IAG Cargo, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo, Qatar Airways, SAUDIA, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines, reported the Associated Press. Also Read: We now have 4,000 new variants of coronavirus that causes COVID-19!