Will we really need 8,000 jumbo jets to transport COVID vaccines?

It has been widely reported that the world will need 8,000 dedicated 747 jumbo jets to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone.

That’s the figure the International Air Transport Association gave last month. DHL Express and McKinsey, meanwhile, estimate that 15,000 freighters will be needed to deliver 10 billion doses over two years.

The reality is, no one really knows how many aircraft it will take. There are so many variables to be determined that it’s difficult to define what the vaccine supply chain will look like.

Multiple drugmakers are racing to produce a vaccine, and each has different levels of temperature sensitivity, with some ultra-cold versions requiring storage at minus 80 degrees Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit). Some will require one dose, others two. Manufacturers will have different factories, handling requirements and shipping routes.

And not all vaccines will need to be flown to hospitals and other dispensing locations. Much of it will go by truck, with production sites expected to be located in many regions of the world.

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Source: American Shipper

Beijing ramps up vaccine diplomacy for neighbors

Beijing is launching a charm offensive to dole out its upcoming Covid-19 vaccines to neighbors still in the grip of the plague, after China’s image was tarnished by the emergence of the virus in the city of Wuhan.

Southeastern Asian nations are set to become the first recipients, starting from as early as next month. By that time, Chinese drug makers will have wrapped up the overseas final trials of their vaccine candidates for safety and efficacy.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi recommitted China to donation and sharing programs earlier this month, capping his whistle-stop visits to several ASEAN nations including Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore with face-to-face talks with senior officials from Indonesia and the Philippines in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

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Source: Asia Times

New restrictions as Europe passes 250,000 deaths

Live version of coronavirus map

Belgium imposed a nationwide overnight curfew on Monday as Switzerland made wearing face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces, the latest desperate measures by European governments to fight a powerful second coronavirus wave.

More than 250,000 people have died of the virus in Europe, but the deepening crisis there stands in contrast to Australia, where the nation’s second-biggest city began easing a lockdown that kept millions of people largely confined to their homes for months.

Cafes and restaurants across Belgium were shuttered for four weeks as the country tackled its own infection spike, part of a continent-wide surge that has seen a 44% increase in cases across Europe in the past week.

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Source: Asia Times

Paris bars shut as Europe faces second virus wave

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A second wave of the coronavirus in Europe has forced Paris to shutter its iconic bars Monday as the US presidential race was in disarray after Donald Trump checked himself out of hospital after Covid-19 treatment.

France reported nearly 17,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday alone, the highest daily number since the country began widespread testing.

Tuesday’s shuttering of bars and cafes – seen by many as the essence of Parisian life – were “braking measures because the epidemic is moving too fast,” Paris police chief Didier Lallemant told journalists, adding that restaurants will remain open provided they respect new safety measures.

These will include providing sanitizing hand gel, limiting patrons to six a table with at least a meter between seats, and allowing diners to remove their masks only for eating.

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Source: Asia Times

Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery Will Present Tough Challenge to Cargo Airlines

The pandemic has revealed shortcomings in global supply chains and forced business to make logistics a bigger strategic priority. Successfully delivering Covid-19 vaccines will test manufacturers and shippers on what lessons have been learned.

“If 50 million doses were available today, could we distribute them?” asked Glyn Hughes, head of cargo at the International Air Transport Association, a trade group. “The answer is almost certainly ‘No’, for every jurisdiction.”

The air-cargo industry is making plans for delivering as many as 20 billion Covid-19 vaccination doses, even before regulators have approved any of the multiple treatments under development. Shippers say they are having to plan without knowing exactly how many vaccine doses they’ll have to ship, where they will be manufactured and how cold they have to be kept.

Pharmaceutical companies and shippers say they expect the bulk of vaccine supplies to be transported by air. Cargo-airline executives are working on a delivery schedule that assumes initial batches become available during the traditional peak season for shipping that runs from fall through early February.

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Source: Wall Street Journal