DHL Express delivers US donation of 1.5m Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine doses to Thailand

30 July 2021 | Friday | News

Rigorous planning undertaken by DHL to ensure supply chains support the vaccine's stringent temperature requirements

DHL Express, the world's leading express service provider today successfully delivered the first batch of 1.5 million Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine doses donated by the United States government to Thailand. From door-to-door in just three days, DHL Express flew the vaccines in thermal packaging and subsequently arranged for it to be sent directly to a designated warehouse in Thailand.


The arrival of 1.5 million doses, part of the US donation to Southeast Asian countries, aims to help Thailand and the region accelerate their vaccination programs and provide equitable access to immunization as to keep their populations safe, and ensure that their economies can recover quickly. 

"We are deeply grateful for the trust that our customers have placed in us in handling this precious cargo. It marks another milestone in combating the spread of Covid-19, assisting the country's recovery and protecting healthcare professionals on the frontline from Covid-19 infection. We are proud to leverage our capabilities and network to transport this life-saving cargo in accordance with the stringent logistics requirements to get through the pandemic," said Herbert Vongpusanachai, Managing Director at DHL Express Thailand & Head of Indochina. "To date, DHL has transported close to 550 million vaccine doses to 147 countries worldwide. This is in line with our mandate of connecting people and improving lives and we are proud to continue playing an active role in seeking a safe, new normal for the businesses and communities we serve."

One of the key challenges faced in the shipment of the COVID-19 vaccines is the stringent temperature requirements of the vaccine. The vaccine was delivered in specially designed thermal shipper packaging customized by the manufacturer. Each shipment was packed with dry ice to regulate the temperature, enabling its use in locations that lack the physical infrastructure to otherwise maintain the required temperature. Temperature trackers equipped with sophisticated GPS technology are fitted within each thermal shipping box to provide full visibility throughout the shipment's entire journey.

DHL Express arranged for the collection of the vaccines from facilities in the US before it was airlifted to the DHL Express Bangkok Hub and Gateway, where they would then be distributed to designated locations in Thailand.

More than 9,000 life sciences and healthcare specialists work across DHL's dedicated global network so that pharmaceutical, medical devices, clinical trials and research organisations, wholesalers and distributors, as well as hospitals and healthcare providers are connected across the value chain and through digitalisation, from clinical trials to point of care, and every step in between.

DHL's portfolio for the healthcare industry includes 150+ pharmacists, 20+ clinical trials depots, 100+ certified stations, 160+ GDP-qualified warehouses, 15+ GMP-certified sites, 135+ medical express sites, and a time-definite international express network covering over 220 countries and territories.

On a global scale, logistics providers are challenged to establish medical supply chain rapidly to deliver vaccines of unprecedented amount of more than 10 billion doses worldwide—also in regions with less developed logistics infrastructures, where approximately 3 billion people live. To provide global coverage over the next two years, DHL estimated in its vaccine logistics whitepaper that up to 200,000 pallet shippers and 15 million cooling boxes as well as 15,000 flights will be required across the various supply chain setups.

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