DHL crosses 1 billion vaccine delivery milestone

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Preparing COVID-19 vaccines for delivery at a DHL facility.
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DHL has passed the one billion mark in terms of COVID-19 vaccines delivered since the vaccine campaign began in December 2020. The COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered to more than 160 countries.

“Looking back at the state of emergency these past nine months, we are honoured to be playing our part, seamlessly managing and executing multiple supply chain set-ups without cold chain
interruptions or security incidents,”says Katja Busch, chief commercial officer DHL.

“We are working across multiple supply chain set-ups and managing direct distributions in certain countries. We implemented new, dedicated, and reliable services at an accelerated speed to ship the highly temperature-sensitive vaccines, as well as ancillary supplies and test kits,” she adds.

The global vaccination campaign represents a crucial instrument in the fight against the virus, and it is essential for containing further virus variants. To reach high immunisation levels, around 10 billion vaccine doses will be required worldwide by the end of 2021.

The global distribution of these doses is necessary to ensure that as many people as possible have access to vaccines. Besides managing various and complex supply chain set-ups, the sensitive temperature requirements have been a major challenge for logistics experts, DHL notes.

“Our advantage is that we already had a sophisticated network in place with the necessary healthcare expertise. This allowed us to react swiftly”, explains Claudia Roa, president of Life Sciences & Healthcare at DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.

“We ship the vaccines in special active thermal containers equipped with state-of-the-art GPS temperature trackers to ensure consistent temperatures and provide full transparency throughout the entire journey.”

DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Express have been tasked with transporting COVID-19 vaccines on multiple routes from Europe and other origins to countries across Asia Pacific, South America, and Europe.

“We are incredibly proud to be entrusted with the logistics of delivering these vital COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in Asia Pacific. To make it available to as many people as possible, our specialists have worked tirelessly to ensure that they arrived safely and promptly,” says Leonora Lim, head of Life Science and Healthcare, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, Asia Pacific.

DHL also reiterated strategies recommended in its earlier white paper “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience”, including that the logistics infrastructure and capacity built up for the pandemic should be maintained because another 7-9 billion vaccine doses will be needed annually in the coming years to keep (re-)infection rates low and to slow down the pace of
virus mutations – not counting seasonal fluctuations.

To be prepared for the future, it is essential to identify and prevent health crises early through active partnerships, expanded global warning systems, an integrated epidemic prevention plan, and targeted R&D investments.

DHL also recommends expanding and institutionalizing virus containment and countermeasures (e.g., digital contact tracing and national stockpiles) to ensure strategic preparedness
and more efficient response times. To facilitate a speedy roll-out of medication (i.e., diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines), governments and industries should maintain “ever-warm” manufacturing capacity, blueprint research, production, and procurement plans, and expand local deployment
capabilities.

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