Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

By Malak Harb, associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Emirates plane carrying Brussels to Dubai in the early hours of Sunday was filled with precious cargo: thousands of doses of the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine.

The arrival was part of an effort by the Middle East’s largest airline to transport cargoes from shipping to cargo – and to gain a central role in the global vaccine delivery race.

As the coronovirus epidemic continues to sustain the aviation industry, the disaster has hit hardest long-haul carriers such as Emirates. So the airline is going to ferry around the very substance it hopes will bring passengers back to their seats and revive the flag bearer travel area.

Over the weekend, workers at the Dubai International Airport wreaked havoc, dumping several aluminum containers covered with vaccine vials and dry ice into the huge fluorescent-lit cargo terminal. The major transit center, formerly used for global shipments of pharmaceuticals, is now at the heart of a growing vaccine supply network based in the United Arab Emirates. The state-owned cargo company Emirates has already distributed millions of doses to Latin America, South Africa and Egypt from major manufacturing centers in India and elsewhere.

With 15,000 square meters (161,458 sq ft) of refrigerated storage space, the vast facility can help maintain the required temperature control for two major COVID-19 vaccines that use the new vaccine technology Envoy RNA, or mRNA. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is reported to be 95% effective, should be preserved at a temperature of negative 70 ° C (minus 94 ° F).

On the one hand, federations of seven emirates are accelerating vaccine import efforts despite supply gaps. The country, claiming the world’s second-fastest inoculation drive behind Israel, relies on a vaccine made by state-backed Chinese firm Sinopharm. It also offers residents many other options, including Pfizer, Russia’s Sputnik V and most recently the AstraZeneca-Oxford University-made jabs in India.

Emirates is also assembling an extensive supply chain around the world, catering specifically to countries in Africa and the Middle East that lack the proper infrastructure to store and transport shots. Vaccine inequality has become a growing concern as rich countries have reduced lions’ doses to zero, leaving even poor people behind in combating the public health and economic effects of the epidemic.

Earlier this month, Dubai’s international port operators DP World and Emirates announced the creation of a “Vaccine Logistics Alliance”, the company’s vast network of ports and Dubai’s airport, a significant east-west transit through the world. Is planning to take millions more doses throughout. Point.

“I think we are in an important strategic place to be able to deliver these vaccines in developing countries,” said Julian Sach, commercial development manager at the Emirates Cargo Storage Facility. “We know that in the first world we will be able to catch these vaccines, but it is important that everyone does.”

The thrust of the UAE comes in the form of vaccine diplomacy gain traction around the world, with countries such as China taking supplements under ambitious political and business efforts.

The oil-rich UAE has given free Sinoparam shipments to Egypt’s major Arab ally and the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles to deepen its influence and garner positive headlines overseas. With the help of an Emirati-based rival to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, 20,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine landed in the battered Gaza Strip from the United Arab Emirates.

Associated Press writer Isabel Debre contributed to this report.

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