In a recent address to the nation, President Biden assured us that anyone who wants a vaccine will likely have access by the end of May, in part due to cooperation and collaboration with major airlines transporting the sensitive material across the country. We trust our airlines to carry our things, our bodies, and our loved ones, and now we’re trusting them to save the world. Is your favorite airline taking part in vaccine distribution?
Back in the summer of 2020, American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines began prepping for vaccine transport. They’ve teamed up with companies like UPS, FedEx, and DHL to build an iron-clad supply chain system. Ahead of a major transportation push, shipping giants DHL and McKinsey predicted that in order to vaccinate the world, airlines will need to complete more than 15,000 flights. At this point, the COVID-19 vaccine has reached frequent flier status, climbing to the top of our own leaderboard.
It’s not just US-based airlines stepping to the plate, Ethiopian Airlines recently announced their intentions to take a lead role in vaccine distribution across the world.
Since the vaccine is temperamental, airlines and shipping carriers have had to create an entirely new system of transport, building infrastructure to contain the dry ice necessary to cool the vaccine. In November of 2020, American Airlines even conducted a handful of trial flights, testing their thermal protection tech and timing their own productivity. From there, airlines went on to run vaccine-only flights full of freezer boxes. Luckily for American, they already had a temperature-controlled warehouse, built in 2015 to hold flu vaccines. Maintained at -4 degrees Fahrenheit, this facility is just one of many across the country at major airports.
We’ve come a long way and there’s still more to go, but without the cooperation of our major airlines, the COVID-19 vaccine would remain a myth.