Drone vaccine delivery in Africa

Regarding vaccines, in addition to whether they are available and who delivers them, logistics is one of the biggest challenges, especially in hard-to-reach places, which is why a San Francisco company, along with the WHO’s Equal Vaccine Distribution Organization, delivers vaccines in Ghana. Zipline is scheduled to deliver 2.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines to hard-to-reach parts of the country this year.

Ghana is not the only one where drone delivery is needed: the company will also launch vaccine delivery in Nigeria, Rwanda and the United States this year. Zipline previously shipped blood, drugs and protective equipment, and parcels were dropped parachutes from the 1.8-kilogram (four-pound) aircraft.

The company says it will be able to transport all available vaccines safely in the near future, as special refrigeration equipment will be installed at their sites and low temperatures will be guaranteed during transport. This will most likely mean that the Pfizer vaccine will also be delivered, but this has not been confirmed by either Zipline or the pharmaceutical company.

Alan Morgan, president of the U.S. National Rural Health Association, said members of the rural health association previously feared that rural residents could be disadvantaged because of the special storage and transportation needs of vaccines, but these developments seem encouraging. According to WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Gebreesus, getting the vaccine to poorer countries and isolated places is both a moral duty and a well-conceived interest of the members of the organization.

According to Gebreusus, “no one is safe while everyone is safe,” so it is important that existing stocks are distributed fairly among countries. To this end, in Covax, richer countries also provide financial support for the purchase of vaccines, and the organization also gives money to deliver them to their destination.

Keller Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline, says their service (and the like) represents the future of medicine: the epidemic has shown the need for telemedicine as well as the fact that telemedicine with the right technological background is effective and workable in most cases. . In decentralized medicine, medicines, vaccinations, and protective equipment delivered quickly and efficiently by drones also come in handy in peacetime, and are downright essential in times of pandemic.

The medical use of drones has been growing in popularity for years: they carry blood and even organs with them. In 2019, a kidney was thus delivered to the target in America, which was then successfully implanted in the patient. In India, a collaboration between the World Economic Forum and two Indian hospitals, Medicine from the Sky, was launched in 2020 to deliver products that they could not safely store to less well-equipped hospitals, including coronavirus vaccines that specialize in storage conditions.

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