AF-KLM uplifts first vaccine shipments to Bonaire, Aruba

(l-r) Paul Blokhuis, Dutch State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport and Pieter Elbers, CEO of KLM.
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Air France KLM Martinair Cargo uplifts its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Bonaire and Aruba in the Caribbean, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

It is the first of several shipments that will deliver the vaccines to the various islands in the coming weeks, the carriers say.

The Air France KLM Martinair Cargo division notes it handles more than 80,000 pharmaceutical shipments annually and has many years of experience transporting temperature-controlled medicines.

The distribution of Covid-19 vaccines poses specific transport and security challenges and the division has developed a dedicated process to ensure swift, reliable and safe distribution.

“We worked with our cargo division in recent months to prepare swift and secure vaccine transport worldwide and we have now embarked on this highly complex and demanding task,” says Pieter Elbers, CEO KLM.

“Today’s transport is special because it is the first in a series of KLM flights to Bonaire, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten (including Saba and Sint Eustatius), carrying Covid-19 vaccines. KLM has a long and unique history of cooperation with the islands and we enjoy a warm relationship with them as a result.

“The Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are also going through a difficult time and we are proud and happy to be of service to their people in this way,” Elbers adds.

Each of the various vaccines has its own temperature requirements: +2 to +8 degrees Celsius, frozen at -20 degrees Celsius, or between -70 and -80 degrees Celsius. It is vital that these temperatures are guaranteed throughout the entire transport operation, AF-KLM notes.

The Pfizer vaccine shipped to Bonaire and Aruba has been packed with dry ice which will keep it at the right temperature for several days, as long the containers are stored in an environment of between +2 to +25 degrees Celsius. Upon arrival on Bonaire and Aruba, the vaccines are immediately stored in a suitable temperature-controlled environment.

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