A COVID-19 vaccine plan has been set in motionBy Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Thu, 12/24/2020 - 08:44
Mexico’s government has laid out a COVID-19 vaccine plan that includes five stages with the first one set to start this week. Today, a DHL airplane arrived at Mexico City´s International airport carrying 3000 vaccines. Marcelo Ebrard, Foreign Affairs Secretary, said the first batch of vaccines had been embarked at a Pfizer plant in Belgium, reported Forbes Mexico.
The first batch of vaccines will serve to calibrate the logistics handling process of the vaccine. The number of vaccines will increase in the following shipments. Ebrard said that between December 23 and January 31, Mexico is expected to receive 1,417,659, doses of the vaccine, and the second arrival is expected by Tuesday, reported Forbes. President López Obrador said that due to logistics reasons the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive first in Mexico City and Coahuila and medical personnel will be vaccinated first in COVID hospitals, reported La Jornada.
The Mexican government has signed shipment orders for over 198 million vaccines, and its logistics distribution will not be a simple task. Logistics distributing companies have warned about the challenges that may hinder the vaccine’s distribution times and conditions. Once the vaccines leave distribution centers in Mexico, they will travel to medical facilities such as hospital, explains Expansion Politica. This process looks like a simple task, but the hardest part is delivering it to people. Vaccines must arrive safely to their final destination and must be preserved under the right conditions when applied to people. Robin Townley, Regional Director for Logistics Projects in Maersk, tells Expansion that it is necessary to use an Inverse Logistics system, where people determine first how many vaccines will be needed at a certain medical facility, and then how it will get there. “We need to understand how many volumes and how many doses can be implemented in one day, in order to understand how fast we need to do everything else,” explained Townley.
Vaccine storage is another challenge. Vaccines must be kept at under 70°C. Land transportation becomes crucial for the vaccine’s preservation, an immense challenge considering the size of Mexico’s territory. These vaccines require specialized technology, and it is important that vaccine companies provide Mexican authorities with this technology, explains Gabriel Garcia, CEO of Grupo GET in Expansion. The Mexican Army (SEDENA) will assist DHL Express in guarding the vaccines as they travel across Mexico, reports T21.