Monday, December 07, 2020

Cold storage chain for COVID-19 vaccine in works; govt ropes in airlines

The central government has started preparations to set up a cold storage chain for the COVID-19 vaccine that is likely to be approved soon in the country. It is also working on transportation of the vaccine with leading airlines. The aviation ministry has already held talks with multiple airlines on transportation logistics.

The aviation ministry is awaiting the Centre's nod to the coronavirus vaccine. It said that it has already made arrangements for transportation, as mentioned in a report by Hindustan Times. A senior government official told the daily that they will come out with the specifics soon. The official said that there is enough capacity in terms of aircraft and it remains to be seen whether the first vaccine will emerge from Pune or the South, depending on which cold storage would be set up. "We have enough capacity in terms of aircraft to take them around the country and if need be to take them to other countries or get them from outside as well," said the official.

The official added that apart from setting up cold storage inside aircraft, the government has started working on setting up cold storage chain at the point of disembarkation and embarkation. "We have started work and it is at a fairly advanced stage. It is only a matter of weeks before the vaccine is finalised," the official told the daily.

According to an analysis by aviation consultancy Martin Consulting LLC, delivering the vaccine to 1.3 billion people would require at least 2,000 Boeing 747 freighters, 3,000 Airbus A320s, 1,000 ATR 42s and additionally at least 400 Twin Otters of the Grand Caravan aircraft.

SpiceJet, Air India and IndiGo have said that they would chip in according to their capacity in the delivery of the vaccine. SpiceJet said in a statement that it will offer logistical support for the delivery of the vaccine with its specialised service called Spice Pharma Pro. Air India told the daily that it will do its bit like how it played a major role in evacuating stranded Indians amid the pandemic. IndiGo said that it is in the process of evaluating how to chip in.

07/12/20 Business Today

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