Covid-19 Vaccine tracking: Airports and airlines prepare for the mammoth task ahead of vaccine distribution
Covid-19 Vaccine tracking: With Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine announcing their high efficacy results, the wait seems to be shorter for the Covid-19 vaccine. In line with this, the airline operators and airports in India have started preparing for the herculean task that lays ahead of them – vaccine transportation and distribution across the country.
Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine require extremely low storage temperatures (-70C). Though this will be very challenging to maintain, a cold chain storage for vaccine program is underway which needs to be done on a large scale to enable millions of shots possible right at the initial stage.
Delhi and Hyderabad airports are maintained by the GMR Group which has relayed that cargo units at both the airports are gearing up to play a pivotal and crucial role in Covid-19 vaccines distribution through an exceptionally high level delivery system that maintains temperature-sensitive requirements. The air cargo units are designed to maintain the cool chambers between +25 C to -20 C temperatures.
Furthermore, SpiceJet’s cargo arm, SpiceXpress has partnered with global cold chain cargo providers to offer cargo shipments with controlled temperatures between +25 C to -40 C.
At present the Delhi airport has two cargo terminals that are well equipped to handle over 1.5 lakh metric tonne and have temperature controlled areas with cold chambers from +25 C to -20 C. These are apt for vaccine distribution.
A spokesperson of Delhi Airport said, “There are cool dollies at the airside that ensure unbroken cool chain during temperature-sensitive cargo movement between terminal and aircraft. The terminals have separate gates for fast movement of vehicles carrying vaccines in and out of the airport. Delhi Airport has set up a dedicated ‘transshipment excellence centre’ on airside that will help in fast movement of vaccines through transshipment.”
Hyderabad Airport spokesperson stated, “GMR Hyderabad air cargo (GHAC) is located in epicentre of India’s vaccine production region. GHAC has India’s first pharma zone with certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo. The terminal is equipped with various temperature zones from -20 to -25 C. The freighter parking stands are just 50 metre away from the terminal, thereby minimizing ramp exposure timing. We recently launched latest cool dollies – mobile refrigeration unit for airside transportation designed to eliminate any temperature excursions and to maintain the unbroken cool chain.”
GHAC claims to have the largest logistics of cool storage in India and are further upgrading on both airside and landside to handle huge surge of cargo.
Serum Institute of India, Pune, has just announced that the Oxford vaccine would be available for healthcare workers from February and for public from April next year. This is a positive news on front on the pandemic fight in India and more reason for logistics infrastructure to gear up for storage and distribution of vaccine pan India.