Thursday, December 31, 2020

How India's busiest airport is preparing to handle COVID-19 vaccines

India being such a vast country, with a population of more than 135 crore and with more than 10 million coronavirus cases, the biggest headache in the coming days will be the distribution of the vaccine.

However, India's busiest airport - IGI Delhi is well prepared to handle COVID-19 vaccines. This was informed by the CEO of Delhi International Airport Ltd. Videh Kumar Jaipuriar. But he also added saying, "One of the key challenges will be the availability of cold chain across India."

Not just that, he reiterated the fact that there could be issues elsewhere, considering more remote areas may not be equipped with sufficient equipment and containers.

Indira Gandhi International airport will be a main handling point and has facilities to store 2.7 million vials of vaccine at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. It also has cooling chambers that can keep temperatures as low as - 20 degrees Celsius, Jaipuriar said.

"As soon as we get an indication on what's going to be the flow, we will do the final tune up and then we will be ready to go," Jaipuriar said in an interview with Bloomberg News. He said there was also capacity to potentially export vaccines to nearby countries.

India is relying largely on two domestically made vaccines from Bharat Biotech International Ltd. and the Serum Institute of India Ltd., which has partnered with AstraZeneca Plc to produce at least one billion doses. Ultra-cold storage requirements for Pfizer Inc. shot make it an unlikely choice for widespread use.

Delhi and Hyderabad airports' air cargo services are all set to play a pivotal role in its distribution through state-of-the-art time and temperature-sensitive distribution systems.

Notably, in the recent past, the Delhi airport had acted as a hub to distribute millions of PPE kits across the country.

"Delhi Airport is fully prepared and geared up for the phase-2 fight against this pandemic to facilitate handling and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as soon as it is launched," IANS quoted Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar as saying.

31/12/20 DNA

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