LONDON - Abu Dhabi launched a global logistics centre to deliver billions of COVID-19 vaccine doses around the world by the end of next year as part of the Gulf emirate’s global response to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The “Hope Consortium” logistics hub, which has already transported five million doses in November, will provide vaccine storage and distribution which require cold-chain infrastructure.
The hub is being run by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, Etihad Cargo, Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Rafed, part of ADQ, and SkyCell.
"Getting that vaccine to the whole globe, while maintaining a robust integrity of temperature is an equal challenge by itself. The Hope Consortium will provide that solution on the highest level of quality," Sheikh Abdullah Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, told the National.
“While assuring vaccine supply to the domestic market, the Hope Consortium will offer international governments, non-governmental organisations, and vaccine suppliers a cohesive solution across every supply chain step,” said Sheikh Abdullah.
There are now four promising COVID vaccine candidates that could stop the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus jab developed by the University of Oxford was the latest vaccine to be announced last week.
A large trial showed that the AstraZeneca and Oxford University's jab was highly effective at stopping people developing COVID-19 symptoms.
The trial suggests 70% protection, but the researchers say the figure may be as high as 90% by altering the dose.
Three vaccines - Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna - have already reported good preliminary data from phase three trials, bringing hope that an end to the pandemic is on the horizon.
Another vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinopharm has also been approved for emergency use in the UAE, where Phase 3 trials are taking place.
Sheikh Abdullah said the companies involved had expertise in delivering millions of COVID-19 related items around the world including personal protective equipment, vaccines and pharmaceuticals.
The Hope Consortium hopes to be able to move and store more than six billion vials – whether in single or multi doses – in cold and ultra-cold conditions by next year, rising to more than three times that by the end of next year.
Distribution of the vaccines, which will be stored in Abu Dhabi Ports Company facilities, will be carried out by Etihad Cargo, the first Middle Eastern carrier to gain the International Air Transport Association's centre of excellence for independent validators certification for pharmaceutical logistics. The UAE’s national carrier will use its network to supply vaccines.