Airlines Partner With UNICEF To Prioritize Vaccine Deliveries

Emirates and other airlines are partnering with UNICEF to ensure that shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine are prioritized. Working with several partners, 16 major airlines and airline groups will help distribute the vaccine and essential related supplies to more than 100 countries worldwide.

UNICEF, COVID-19 Vaccine, Delivery
Airlines around the world are partnering with UNICEF to prioritize COVID-19 vaccine deliveries.

Yesterday IATA revealed that the world is currently more locked down than at virtually any point in 2020. Travel restrictions and flight bans are making travel difficult, if not impossible, for many. The COVID-19 vaccine is seen by many as the answer to a world of travel restrictions. However, airlines are required to ensure that it gets to where it is needed.

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative

Today UNICEF launched its Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative. The project sees the charity working with 16 airlines and airline groups to ensure that vaccines are delivered to over 100 countries as part of the COVAX Facility. This is the global effort to ensure that the vaccine is accessible to all nations.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.

In its first round of allocations, COVAX is sending enough doses to 145 countries to ensure that they can immunize around three percent of their population in the first half of 2021.

Lufthansa Cargo, Frankfurt Airport, Modernization
The airlines will work to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines take priority over other shipments. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa Cargo

However, to administer the vaccines, some help is required to get them to where they’re needed. This is where the airlines come in. To transport the vaccine, UNICEF is working with,

  • AirBridgeCargo
  • Air France-KLM
  • Astral Aviation
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Cargolux
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates SkyCargo
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • IAG Cargo
  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa Cargo
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • United Airlines

The airlines listed above have agreed with UNICEF to prioritize shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine over other cargos. They have also committed to adding cargo capacity when needed while ensuring that temperature control and security are carefully monitored.

UNICEF is grateful for the help

UNICEF is grateful for the help it is receiving from the airline industry when it comes to distributing the vaccine. Etleva Kadilli is the Director of the charity’s supply division. She commented,

“Delivery of these life-saving vaccines is a monumental and complex undertaking, considering the sheer volumes that need to be transported, the cold chain requirements, the number of expected deliveries and the diversity of routes. We are grateful to these airlines for joining forces with the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to support the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.”

The airlines will also add cargo capacity where needed. Photo: Emirates SkyCargo

Many hope that with the COVID-19 vaccine in hand, we’ll be able to move past the worst travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries are already beginning to loosen travel restrictions for those who have been vaccinated. Vaccinated passengers are already exempt from quarantine arriving in Romania, while Thailand was reported to be eyeing a similar approach.

What do you make of airlines partnering with UNICEF to expedite vaccine deliveries? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!