Tuesday, December 08, 2020

As Covid-19 vaccines are ready to take off, here’s how Mumbai airport is gearing up for its delivery

On December 2, the United Kingdom became the first country to authorise a Covid-19 vaccine for use. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available in the country from next week. Now, India has said it is considering a tie-up with Pfizer. While India explores options to source the vaccine, its next big challenge would be to devise a distribution plan that covers the entire country.

The international airport in the country’s financial capital Mumbai is already taking the lead in this direction.

The vaccine which needs to be transported at cold temperatures loses potency when exposed to higher temperatures. For instance, the vaccine made by Pfizer needs to be kept at -70 degrees celsius, which is colder than winter in Antarctica. So, given the large number of dosages India will need, it needs robust and efficient cold chain facilities.

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport has started preparing itself for the safe transportation of the Covid-19 vaccine. The airport is expected to play a pivotal role in storing and distributing the vaccine in India as it is home to Asia’s largest Pharma-dedicated import cold zone, which has a cold storage capacity of 30,000 tonnes.

The airport also has Asia’s largest temperature-controlled Export Pharma Excellence Centre with an annual handling capacity of 350,000 tons, spread over an area of 4,000 square meters.

“CSMIA [the airport] also offers a first-of-its-kind, indigenously developed ‘Cooltainer’ facility that facilitates +2 to +8 degree temperature-controlled transport between the cold storage terminal and the aircraft,” the airport’s spokesperson said.

08/12/20 Niharika Sharma/Scroll.in

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