Emirates has delivered one million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to New Zealand since the beginning of the year as it nears 100 million deliveries around the world.
Since January , Emirates SkyCargo has moved around 75 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to more than 50 destinations around the world.
The cargo carrier has also transported six different types of Covid-19 vaccines on its flights and says it is on track to achieving the goal of 100 million vaccines soon.
Emirates is flying Boeing 777 aircraft to New Zealand and has delivered the bulk of the country's vaccines. As at June 29 1,149,608 jabs had been administered, according to the Ministry of Health.
Before the pandemic Emirates SkyCargo had well developed systems for the air transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and worked quickly to prepare for the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines, announcing in October 2020 the setting up of a dedicated certified airside hub.
The carrier has over 20,000sq m of European Union-certified cool chain infrastructure for storing and handling Covid-19 vaccines in Dubai.
There are also more than 50 cool dollies dedicated for pharmaceuticals at its Dubai hub protecting temperature-sensitive shipments during transit between the aircraft and the cargo terminal.
Transporting the Pfizer vaccine became easier this year although it still must be stored at very low temperatures.
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Pfizer says its vaccine must be refrigerated to between 2C and 8C. In updated advice in May it said the shelf life of an unopened vial of vaccine is extended from five days to 31 days.
More than 200 tonnes of pharmaceuticals are transported around the world every day by Emirates aircraft, helping deliver cures to global communities.
In February Emirates SkyCargo joined with Unicef to expedite transportation of Covid-19 vaccines under the framework of the COVAX facility, aimed at equitable distribution of vaccines to developing countries.
Emirates is currently flying six weekly passenger services between Auckland and Dubai, well down on its pre-pandemic schedule, and light passenger loads means plenty of capacity for cargo.
Along with delivering vaccines, Emirates SkyCargo has carried New Zealand produce to global markets during the pandemic, including more than 2400 tonnes of chilled meat, over 230 tonnes of seafood, and more than 375 tonnes of manuka honey.
The carrier also recently set up a humanitarian air bridge initiative to transport urgent Covid-19 relief items to India. Under the initiative, the air cargo is offering any available cargo capacity on its flights from Dubai to nine destinations in India, free of charge for non-government organisations for transporting medical and relief items.