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Covid-19: Rwanda to test vaccine delivery drones

Rwanda is on the list of countries that will benefit from a new partnership between Zipline, one of the world's…

Rwanda is on the list of countries that will benefit from a new partnership between Zipline, one of the world’s biggest drone delivery service for medical supplies, with Pfizer to test and develop an end-to-end distribution solution for Covid-19 vaccines, an official statement obtained Saturday by APA in Kigali said.The partnership will see Zipline and Pfizer test and develop an end-to-end  distribution solution for Covid-19 vaccines that will among other things safely and reliably transport the doses to vaccination sites, the statement said.

This is aimed at enabling rapid and equitable  access to vaccines from all manufacturers in countries where Zipline operates around the world.

This is in response to the fact that  many vaccines, including the Pfizer-BioNTech type, require maintaining  precise cold chain temperature before being administered to patients.

Pfizer is currently shipping its vaccines in special containers packed in dry ice to keep them at the required minus-70 degrees Celsius. 

As few freezers get that cold, many health systems are using these containers to store the vaccines after they arrive.

While the solution is yet to be rolled out in Rwanda, if and when implemented, it could increase the number of vaccination points and access points especially in rural areas.

Zipline distribution centres have capacity to operate 24 hours a day and currently make about 150 deliveries every 12 hours.

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