IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group (IAG) has transported over 10 million COVID vaccines, supporting global efforts in the fight against COVID-19. This includes a 4 million dose shipment to Abuja, Nigeria in collaboration with UNICEF and its COVAX initiative and 300,000 doses to Jamaica, donated by the UK government.
The Abuja shipment, completed on behalf of UNICEF, departed London Heathrow in July on two British Airways B777-200. The 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines bound for Jamaica also departed in July and were delivered in partnership with Crown Agents on a British Airways B777-200. This was in coordination with the UK Government’s scheme, announced at the G7 summit in June, to donate 100 million vaccines overseas, with at least 80 million pledged to COVAX and the remainder sent directly to countries, including Jamaica.
The COVID-vaccine shipments have been transported using IAG Cargo’s specialist Constant Climate service, a product that has played a vital role in the distribution of vaccines and pharmaceuticals for many years. IAG Cargo benefits from an extensive global network of over 100 approved stations supported by constant climate specialists. Its hub at London Heathrow is one of the only airside facilities to be GDP certified and WDA licensed by the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA); and in 2019 the business opened a brand-new pharmaceutical centre in Madrid dedicated to processing temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products.
Darren Peek, Head of Sales at IAG Cargosaid: “We’re proud that with our sister airlines, British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus, we continue to support countries across the world on the fight against COVID-19. Last year we delivered over 20,000 tonnes of PPE and today we have delivered over 10 million COVID-19 vaccines working with UNICEF and partners like Crown Agents. We will continue to work with a range of partners in the global response to COVID-19, supporting the efforts to ensure equal access to vaccines for all countries across the world.”
Crown Agents CEO Fergus Drake said: “As of today, 29% of the world’s population has been vaccinated. Urgent help is needed to ensure 70% vaccine coverage in every country in 2022 as per the WHO’s recommendation. Crown Agents is proud to contribute towards this goal with its long-standing, global supply chain expertise.”
When the pandemic first emerged last year, IAG Cargo drew on all its existing resources and expertise in pharmaceuticals to be in a state of readiness to transport any vaccines or pharma across the world at short notice, and has been able to deliver COVID-vaccines to a vast number of countries including: Antigua, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Ireland, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, the US, Turks and Caicos and Melilla, a Spanish autonomous city located on the northwest coast of Africa. IAG Cargo also transported medical aid to Delhi during a peak in its coronavirus cases, carrying items such as critical care equipment, PPE and oxygen concentrators via two emergency charters.