The United Nations has partnered with leading airlines globally to facilitate the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, essential medicines and other critical supplies across the globe.
More than 10 airlines are expected to sign agreements with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support its ‘Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative’, which will also act as a global logistics preparedness mechanism for future humanitarian and health crises.
“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 Supply Division.
The development comes a day after the World Health Organization gave the greenlight for two versions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be rolled out globally under an emergency listing.
Airlines covering routes to over 100 countries will support the COVAX Facility – the global effort aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Countries across the world are focusing on acquisition and distribution of the vaccines in efforts to curb further spread of the virus.
In addition to prioritizing the shipments of the supplies, the airlines will take measures, such as temperature control and security, while also adding freight capacity to routes accordingly.
UNICEF stressed that their commitments are essential to the “timely and secure delivery” of vaccines and critical supplies.
“Safe, timely and efficient transportation of life-saving supplies is critical to supporting access to essential services for children and families”, said UNICEF.