American Airlines said it started distributing Covid-19 vaccine across the United States. The airline’s Cargo team carried its first shipment of the vaccine on Sunday night from Chicago to Miami in close collaboration with pharmaceutical and cargo partners.
The company received the shipment by truck at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and loaded the shipment onto a Boeing 777-200 aircraft flying to Miami International Airport. The vaccine shipment arrived at its final destination in a U.S. territory in the Caribbean Monday.
American Airlines’ cargo operation will transport COVID-19 vaccines across the US and around the world.
American Airlines Cargo President Jessica Tyler, said, “We were able to mobilize within hours of getting the call to move thousands of doses. We know this is the first of many shipments to come, and we are ready to scale our operation as additional vaccine is produced and ready for distribution.”
In November itself, the company began conducting trial flights to simulate the conditions required to transport the COVID-19 vaccine. These include stress testing the thermal packaging and operational handling process to ensure it remains stable in transit.
As the country began vaccinations Monday with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, American Airlines joins with logistics majors UPS and FedEx, who are also participating in the initial vaccine delivery.
Following the approval from the FDA, Pfizer began shipping the doses from its Michigan warehouse Sunday.
According to Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, Pfizer would move vaccine from its manufacturing facility to the UPS and FedEx hubs, and then it would go out to the already identified 636 locations nationwide.
The initial vaccines for the healthcare workers and nursing home staffs are being distributed in the U.S. by the Department of Defense in partnership with agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, including the CDC, to government-designated facilities across the country.
The combined manufacturing network of Pfizer and BioNTech has the potential to supply up to 50 million vaccine doses globally in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
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