Iberia is negotiating with pharmaceutical companies to distribute the vaccine throughout the world.

The company has a cold store in Madrid specialised in medicine.

DHL has submitted a proposal to the Health Department to bring the vials to Spain and distribute them.

The Covid-19 vaccine will be a reality in medical centres throughout the European Union, including Spain, from 27 December. While waiting for the final details of its distribution to be defined, air transport companies have already been moving for weeks to offer their logistics and storage services to governments and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that the vials reach every corner of the world in perfect condition.

This is the case of Iberia, which is negotiating with laboratories (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca…) and the Ministry of Health to enter into the distribution of the different vaccines both in Spain and internationally. «We are in talks with the pharmaceutical companies to find out the details of the service they need, the requirements, and so see what they can offer both for importing and exporting the vaccines. Nothing is closed yet», the group’s sources explain to this newspaper.

«We are in talks with the pharmaceuticals to find out the details of the service they need, the requirements, and so see what they can offer to import and export the vaccines,» said Iberia

Iberia has a logistics centre at Barajas airport (Madrid) that allows it to transport, store and distribute pharmaceutical products at low temperatures (vaccines, medicines, etc.). Specifically, Iberia’s cargo terminal has a cold area of nearly 1,000 m2 with sophisticated heating and cooling containers that maintain stable internal temperatures of -20° to + 25°, which allows it to guarantee that pharmaceutical packages maintain their temperature for longer. This means that the new Pfizer containers, which thanks to dry ice maintain internal temperatures of between -70° and +10° for ten days without opening, move in a cold environment that facilitates their conservation.

Thus, Iberia’s job is to ensure that the cold chain of the products is not broken and that they reach their destination as quickly as possible. For this reason, in addition to the low-temperature warehouses, it also has eight air-conditioned trucks and the hold of the passenger planes have the option of being refrigerated when transporting pharmaceutical products.

The airline directed by Javier Sánchez Prieto has been providing this service for two years and works with cargo agents transporting products from groups such as Pfizer, Moderna, Grifols, Teva… Last year alone it moved six million pharmaceutical products from its Madrid hub. Thus, beyond bringing vaccines to Spain, Iberia’s vocation is to use its network to bring viable products to Latin America or Europe. For example, from the Madrid hub, Iberia takes a lot of product to America that comes from India and enters Europe through London and the same with what leaves from Basel.

The urgency inherent in the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and the special characteristics of its conservation mean that its main means of international transport is by air. Thus, in addition to Iberia, all air cargo companies and many commercial airlines have moved quickly to adapt and offer their services. For example, DHL, which has already brought vaccines to Israel, has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health to manage the logistics from the plane to the medical centres. There is still no response.

In addition, it is preparing for more flights in December with vaccines from its 200 operations centres worldwide. «Logistics providers face the challenge of rapidly establishing a supply chain to deliver vaccines in an unprecedented number of more than 10 billion,» says the firm.

For its part, Fedex has signed a contract with Pfizer for distribution of its vaccine in the USA. The company is not clear about whether it will replicate the partnership in Spain, where the government has purchased 20 million doses, but says it is working closely with all governments to deliver its services, including in Europe, where it has the network and capacity.

«FedEx is working closely with governments and health sector customers as it prepares for vaccine distribution. We are confident in the strong relationship we have with our healthcare distribution clients. We are prepared to ship vaccines to over 220 countries and territories for as long as it takes to help eradicate COVID-19,» says the company, which has 70 aircraft and 32 cold chain facilities in Europe. Two of the main facilities are located in Belgium and the Netherlands while Spain has cold chain facilities. Thus, Fedex also offers almost real-time temperature control and monitoring solutions and ensures that it is more than ready to distribute dry ice packs throughout the Iberian Peninsula.

Source: El Economista.