The global race to produce the novel Coronavirus vaccine kicked off but distributing them has become a daunting challenge as the vaccines require freezing storage condition especially those of Pfizer which needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius.
Ilker Ayci, the chairman of national flag carrier Turkish Airlines, said to Anadolu Agency that his company is capable of safely keeping at required freezing temperatures up to 30 million doses of Coronavirus vaccines at its Istanbul Ataturk airport facility. Turkish Cargo, a division of Turkish Airlines, has gained a lot of ground in global cargo delivery during the pandemic and Ayci’s statement would turn Turkey’s national flag carrier also into a major distributer as the world ponders how to overcome the complex logistics of vaccines.
Delivering vaccines from several global companies to people’s arms has been a great challenge. Pfizer has tried to calm concerns about the challenges presented by these cold temperatures. Debra Kristensen, a 30-year veteran of vaccine innovation and supply chains at PATH, an international nonprofit focused on public health was quoted saying that it would definitely be going to be much more expensive and more difficult.
Turkey has delivered the first batch of the Chinese made coronavirus vaccine which requires refrigerator temperature to be stored but Ankara has signed contract with the German firm BioNTech to purchase 4,5 million doses with an option to raise it to 30 million. The initial 550,000 doses expected to arrive early this month.
As the Pfizer&BioNTech vaccine has stood out globally as the most trusted one, its required storage temperature looms as the greatest challenge followed by timely delivery. Turkish airline managing up to 30 million doses would certainly provide an upper hand for Turkey.