On July 28th, the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced the United Kingdom would be donating 4 million COVID-19 vaccines to be shared directly with countries in need. Another five million doses were also offered to COVAX, the global vaccine sharing scheme that aims to accelerate global equitable access to immunisation against the pandemic.
DHL Global Forwarding has helped support Crown Agents, a UK not-for-profit international development company, in the delivery of 4 million COVID-19 vaccines to 15 countries, including Indonesia, Jamaica and Kenya.
Crown Agents hold extensive experience in shipping and distributing supplies globally, including running supply chain operations in challenging environments, such as warzones. Earlier in 2021, Crown Agents assisted the FCDO to transport the Covid-19 vaccine to the British Overseas Territories, which include the most remote communities in the world like Pitcairn and Tristan Da Cunha.
The Vaccine Logistics Infrastructure
Due to the stringent temperature requirements, to ensure consistent temperatures throughout the journey despite lacking infrastructure, the doses were shipped in special active thermal containers fitted with temperature trackers equipped with sophisticated GPS technology. To date, DHL has transported more than 731 million vaccine doses to 153 countries worldwide.
Establishing medical supply chains that can rapidly and safely deliver vaccines— more than 10 billion doses worldwide and to regions lacking developed logistics infrastructure— is a challenge that requires significant resources. Over the next two years, to provide global coverage, DHL estimated that up to 200,000 pallet shippers and 15 million cooling boxes, as well as 15,000 flights, will be required across the various supply chains.
“We are incredibly proud that DHL Global Forwarding was entrusted with supporting the complex logistics for these vital doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. DHL has a strong global network; our Life Sciences & Healthcare teams in the UK and in the countries receiving the doses worked around the clock to ensure that the life-saving vaccines arrived safely and promptly in 15 countries across Africa and South East Asia,” said Paul Chinery, Vice President Air Freight, DHL Global Forwarding UK.
“Crown Agents has been shipping and distributing supplies for over a century; this includes the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to the most remote communities on earth such as Tristan da Cunha and the Pitcairn Islands. Appointed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, we are delighted to have led on the intricate logistics of these dispatches, working closely with DHL to ensure they arrive safely at their destinations.” said Fergus Drake, CEO of Crown Agents.
For more information on the vaccine logistics, download DHL’s whitepaper.