Unicef announces agreement with airlines for global vaccine delivery

United Nations, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- The United Nations’ children’s agency on Tuesday announced an agreement with more than a dozen large international airlines to prioritize the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines and medical supplies around the world.

Under the recently introduced Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative, the airlines, covering routes to more than 100 countries, will support the Covax Facility and transport vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices and other critical supplies, a Unicef statement said.

“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 Unicef supply division director Etleva Kadilli.

The airlines participating are: AirBridgeCargo, Air France/KLM, Astral Aviation, Brussels Airlines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Emirates Skycargo, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, IAG Cargo, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo, Saudia, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and United Airlines, a Unicef spokeswoman told EFE.

In addition to prioritizing shipments, the airlines will take measures such as temperature control and security, while also adding freight capacity to routes where needed, the statement said.

The initiative will also act as a “global logistics preparedness mechanism for other humanitarian and health crises over the longer term.”

In accordance with the plans of the Covax Facility, which seeks to give equitable access to vaccines, 145 countries will receive doses to immunize 3 percent of their populations starting in the first half of 2021, provided that all requirements are met.

Unicef ?said that the airlines’ commitment is “critical to the timely and secure delivery of vaccines and critical supplies.” EFE-EPA


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