January 29, 2022

The Tampa Herald

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In Latin America, coordination is key for the distribution of anti-COVID vaccines

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Coordination and communication are key factors to successfully develop the process of distribution of millions of vaccines against COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean, an executive of DHL, one of the companies in charge of this work in the world, told EFE .

The CEO of DHL Global Forwarding in Panama and the Caribbean, Christian Schwarz said “Coordination and communication are two important words. You have to align the expectations between the company that is manufacturing the vaccine and the consignee ”.

The manager of the Germany-based parcel company explained that DHL is not the only one transporting COVID-19 vaccines in the world.
“Of the 10 billion doses the world needs, 1 billion have been delivered globally, and we have transported 200 million doses. So there are other companies ”, he specified.

Since last December and with a frequency of weekly deliveries, DHL has distributed 12 million doses to 15 countries in Latin America, Panama, Paraguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico , Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia.

“The company recently moved a couple of shipments” of anticovid vaccines to El Salvador through the Panama hub, the DHL executive revealed.

For this regional distribution a “complete communication is necessary, especially with the governments”, it is necessary to be very aligned with the airports, ministries, joint task force in each country to be able to cover the chain and validate the packaging, from origin to destination, said the director of cold chain for Latin America, Aracelys Combe.

“We must protect the cold chain, the temperature of this vaccine”, since some require up to -70 degrees Celsius for storage and in that sense, we consider ourselves leaders in the transport of cargo at controlled temperature, “explained Schwarz.

The manager also stressed that transit times are a challenge, because the pharmaceutical company generates the dose to be applied in a certain number of hours or days.

So far, the company has not registered incidents with the cold chain. In fact, DHL has “met the expectations,” Schwarz said.

Another great challenge that arose when the distribution process for anticovid preparations started was the infrastructure in general, Combe said.

“The governments looked for a way to maintain and adapt to the temperature of the vaccines by acquiring cold rooms, equipment, etc. The fear that existed was that the Latin American region was not ready, and we managed to turn it around ”, added the director.

DHL is responsible for the distribution of vaccines against COVID-19, with personnel trained in the delivery process, only until arrival at the airports, the respective transport process to the cold rooms corresponds to the governments.


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