One year after COVID-19 vaccines were authorized in the U.S., the race to vaccinate the globe is still on. To that end, UPS (UPS) announced today that it's shipping its 1 billionth dose globally.
Kate Gutmann, an executive vice president at UPS, told Yahoo Finance the buildout of capabilities to manage the global demand for mRNA vaccines — which require ultra-cold storage — was key to their success.
Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTX) created a storage unit and dry ice to hold the temperature, and worked with UPS to create a way for the doses to be tracked at every step along the route, to any destination. UPS also donated more than 200 freezers to countries that need it, as well as in-kind transportation in some countries.
Gutmann noted that one third of doses have gone to the U.S., one-third to Europe and one-third to the rest of the world, resulting in "equitable distribution."
"We're at the beginning, I would say, as a global entity," Gutmann said.
The company also partnered with Zipline, which recently announced a partnership with Pfizer, to deliver 330,000 doses by drones.
"We've also partnered with various companies to do alternate delivery modes, it might be smaller aircraft going into remote cities, so we are in the beginning stages of covering the globe's population," Gutmann said.
UPS officials have said the initial donations of resources will serve more than just initial dose deliveries, as the pandemic continues to swell in waves around the globe.
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