Emirates mobilizes for COVID-19 vaccine airlift

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Emirates is gearing up to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as pharma companies mobilize for the challenging logistics of delivering them to users.

It comes as airlines have warned that continuing travel curbs could potentially slow the distribution of the vaccines because of the high proportion of air cargo transported in the bellies of passenger planes.

As one of the big “super connector” hubs of global travel, Dubai and its airline may play an important role in the months ahead as the new COVID-19 vaccines move into mass production.

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Earlier, BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin told CNN said that the company, which has been working on a COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer, will file paperwork for the emergency use of its vaccine with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday.

Pfizer has said that a final analysis of the phase 3 trial of its coronavirus vaccine showed it was 95 percent effective in preventing infections, even in older adults.

Other major airline groups are also preparing for distribution of the planned new vaccines. Air France-KLM said this week that it was preparing a test run to fly out dummy vaccine shipments from the KLM hub at Amsterdam-Schiphol.

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Last month Emirates SkyCargo revealed plans to establish the world’s first dedicated airside cargo hub for the vaccine in Dubai. The air cargo carrier is setting up its Emirates SkyCentral DWC cargo terminal in Dubai South to serve as a dedicated hub for cold chain storage and distribution of the vaccine.

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