16 airlines have signed agreements with the United Nations (UN) for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
Only two airlines from Africa made it to the list but national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) is not one of them. The two include Ethiopian Airlines and Nairobi-based Astral Aviation.
Others are AirBridgeCargo, Air France/KLM, Emirates SkyCargo, Brussels Airlines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, IAG Cargo, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines.
“These airlines have signed agreements with UNICEF to support the prioritization of delivery of Covid-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices, and other critical supplies to respond to the pandemic,” the global agency said in a statement.
The selected airlines are expected to ferry more than 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally between March and December this year.
In December last year, Kenya Airways launched a modern pharma facility at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi in readiness for COVID-19 vaccine distribution business.
The UN looks to distribute 20 percent of Africa’s COVID-19 vaccines, with UNICEF and Gavi paying for the jabs while UNICEF is doing the procurement and logistics.
The initiative supports the COVAX Facility, a global initiative whose aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.