Emirates carries first batch of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to Dubai

Emirates SkyCargo has had a long experience in transporting vaccines and other temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical cargo

Emirates carries first batch of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to Dubai
Emirates SkyCargo carries Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine from Brussels to Dubai. Image courtesy: Emirates

Emirates carried the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines to Dubai on December 22. The vaccines were brought in from Brussels for the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). 

On arrival at the Dubai airport, the containers with the vaccines were unloaded on priority from the aircraft (Emirates flight EK182) and taken to Emirates SkyCargo's dedicated pharma facility Emirates SkyPharma to await clearance for delivery, Emirates informed. 

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Group, said: "Emirates is proud to be transporting the first batch of Pfizer vaccines for Covid-19 into the UAE for the Dubai Health Authority. Our healthcare ecosystem has played an absolutely critical role in every step of the fight against Covid-19. In recognition of their immense contribution to the wellbeing of everyone in the UAE, it has been our honour to transport these vaccines free of charge on our flight."

The Emirates plane that carried the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to Dubai. Image courtesy: Emirates

"At Emirates SkyCargo we are doing our part to join Dubai's efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the effective management of the pandemic by Dubai's visionary leadership, the city has retained its position as a global logistical hub for connecting vital cargo including PPE, medical supplies, vaccines, food and other essential items," said Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President (Cargo).  

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Sultan pointed out that Emirates SkyCargo has set up the world's biggest airside hub dedicated to distributing Covid-19 vaccines. "We stand ready to support not just Dubai, but countries around the world, including markets with limited cool chain infrastructure with our advanced capabilities," he said.  

Emirates is playing its part in the fight against Covid-19. Image courtesy: Emirates

Dubai started a free vaccination campaign using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine from December 23, Arab News reported.

Pfizer and BioNTech have said that their vaccine is 95% effective in preventing Covid-19, according to a Bloomberg report. The UAE had been conducting trials on China's state-backed coronavirus vaccine and had reported earlier this month that the vaccine protected 86% of the people against the pandemic. 

The UAE has diagnosed over 1,95,000 Covid-19 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic. It saw more than daily 1,000 cases in the past two months after they dropped to just 164 in August. The UAE has a case-fatality rate of just 0.3%, which is among the lowest in the world, according to data from John Hopkins University and Medicine. 

Dubai had imposed a lockdown for about a month earlier this year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Dubai Expo scheduled for October was postponed by a year. Emirates had grounded flights.  

Also read -- Covid-19: How Emirates emerged as world's safest airline  

The UAE is one of the first countries to start widespread Covid-19 vaccination. The UK had become the first to roll out a campaign using the Pfizer vaccine, Khaleej Times reported.

Emirates SkyCargo has been transporting pharmaceuticals on its aircraft for over two decades. It has also set up state-of-the-art EU GDP certified facilities dedicated to storing and handling pharma cargo in Dubai.

Emirates SkyCargo has also established a global pharma corridors programme working with ground handlers and local airports at major pharma origin and destination stations for enhanced cool chain protection. The current pharma network covers over 30 cities across the world.

More recently, Emirates SkyCargo has set up the world's largest dedicated airside storage and distribution hub for Covid-19 vaccines in Dubai with the capacity to store up to an estimated 10 million doses of the vaccine at the 2-8 degree Celsius temperature range at any one point of time. 

Emirates SkyCargo has the advantage an all-wide-body aircraft fleet and boasts of advanced infrastructure and an extensive network, which would ensure that it can transport Covid-19 vaccines rapidly and securely from manufacturing locations to destinations across six continents.