The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) and Pharma.Aero have released a report outlining recommended practices and insights for effective COVID-19 vaccine air transportation and handling.
The report details the role and recommended practices for each stakeholder in the air cargo supply chain when addressing the four major requirements identified. Both TIACA and Pharma.Aero encourage the industry to adopt a local air cargo community approach in executing these specific requirements.
The global readiness survey (Project Sunray) found the group of respondents that are the most prepared for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution are those having the combination of dedicated teams and effective collaboration with vaccine manufacturers and their supply chain partners. This demonstrated the importance of air cargo community efforts. The project welcomed the formation of local air cargo communities in several key air cargo hubs, including:
- Brussels Airport’s BRUcure Task Force: Brussels Airport together with Air Cargo Belgium started the BRUcure task force, aiming to prepare the local cargo community stakeholders and align all resources and procedures for the correct handling of COVID-19 vaccines once they started moving through Brussels Airport.
- Edmonton International Airport’s CEIV Cargo Community Ready Response: In early fall 2020, Edmonton International Airport’s CEIV cargo community and partners began preparing for the safe arrival, storage and deployment of vaccines destined for the Canadian region.
- Miami International Airport’s MIAVAC19 Task Force: In anticipation of the eventual development of a COVID-19 vaccine, Miami International Airport formed the MIAVAC19 Task Force, a community partnership made up of both public and private entities.
- Singapore Changi Airport’s Changi Ready Task Force: Co-led by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport Group, the Changi Ready Task Force is a public-private collaboration involving government agencies, cargo handlers, airlines and freight forwarders to better prepare the Singapore air cargo community to meet the logistical demands of the COVID-19 vaccines distribution.
“It is critical for airports to plan and prepare themselves by mapping out their infrastructure and collaborating with their stakeholders to effectively manage the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines,” explained Emir Pineda, member of TIACA’s Board of Directors.
INTERPOL has warned of the organized crime threat to COVID-19 vaccines and issued a global alert to law enforcement authorities for them to prepare for such unlawful activities. Ensuring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain is essential.
Airports may want to consider additional security and mitigating measures. Some examples may include police escorts at airside for arriving vaccines, security personnel assigned to vaccine storage facilities and/or secured corridors being assigned between distribution facilities and airport warehouses, and vice versa.
All air cargo stakeholders are encouraged to conduct internal risk and threat assessment for external, insider and cyber threats and ensure that any gaps are adequately addressed early.
The report also features the latest information on the different COVID-19 vaccine candidates that have received approval or are in the final stage of clinical trials.