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The commercial airline issued a statement Thursday morning to explain it has large warehouses and cool facilities in key cities, including Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle. Delta also shared that it is partnered with a 49 “Pharma airports” around the world, which has given the company confidence that it can take on this task.
Delta reportedly ran test shipments earlier this year to prepare for vaccine distribution. And it appears that Delta and other air carriers will be in high demand now that the U.S. has more than 14 million confirmed coronavirus cases as of Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard.
"Effective and rapid distribution of the vaccines as they reach final approvals is one of the most critical elements in containing the virus. That's why we created a vaccine task force months ago charged with understanding requirements and working with healthcare and pharmaceutical experts, building scalable solutions to support the industry," said Delta Cargo’s Vice President Rob Walpole, in a statement. "After successfully shipping test vaccines throughout the summer and fall, we are confident in our capability and stand ready to help ensure approved vaccines are broadly distributed.”
To prep for vaccine distribution, Delta updated its existing pharmaceutical delivery protocols. COVID-19 vaccine distribution at Delta will include high-level access and boarding priority and a 24/7 operational Vaccine Control Tower that offers centralized monitoring and customer reporting.
There will also be “Pharma-ready Cargo-only charter options for operations within and outside our existing network,” according to Delta’s press release.
The airline offers four custom pharmaceutical shipping options, which are temperature-specific to maintain the integrity of shipped vaccines.