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Military planes to fly Covid vaccines in to Britain to avoid ports hit by Brexit

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Military planes to fly Covid vaccines in to Britain to avoid ports hit by Brexit

Old 7th Dec 2020, 10:41
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There are temperature requirements for this specific vaccine that would be better accommodated by military aircraft. As mentioned above, potentially you can just put the refrigerated trailer on the aircraft. For civilian aircraft you would need specialist temp controlled cargo pods, which are very expensive and there's just not enough of then out there to meet the demand globally.
Sorry, totally untrue. The manufacturers are really frustrated about this false information. The vaccine comes in special boxes. In the UK they look like pizza trays but in the US they have cannisters. A motorcycle courier can easily carry 5000 doses in his back pack, and twice that using panniers. We are not going to transport 40 million doses in one go as that would mean delaying vaccinating people while the vaccine is produced.....you dont need a trailer, you dont need much more than a man with a bag, and I agree we should be using the usual carriers. We move temperature sensitive organs for transportation around the world using volunteers with bags who carry them in the cabin. cost? One economy ticket and the volunteer's hotel bill.

KLM and Lufthansa have already stated they are set up to transport the Pfizer vaccine including to the UK. Of course, saying you have military aircraft on standby makes the politicians sound in control. I remember they sent military aircraft to turkey for PPE in the summer, and they came back with totally unusable items that were binned, and the bill from the military was many times that of a normal carrier.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 11:28
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Originally Posted by homonculus View Post
Dont need anything clever. The packs last 15 days if unopened. Even with my navigation skills that isnt a challenge.

Once in the UK the vaccine should be distributed overnight and even when removed from the packs it is stable in an ordinary fridge for 5 days. The 50 hub hospitals can feed the 185 NHS hospitals each of whom should be able to vaccinate 100 people an hour. So we can consume 148,000 vials a day with no special transportation and ship over up to 15 days worth or 22 million at a time. Of course Pfizer will almost certainly release the vials in batches to avoid delay

The cold storage will be an issue for Africa and other countries with great distances and poor electricity supplies. Not for the UK, Europe or the US. The issue in the UK is that the vaccine is still sitting in a 'secret location' unused while 500 people a day are dying and 15,000 a day are getting infected.
If everyone needs 2 injections, and assuming "only" 40m want the vaccine, on your figures it still takes 540 days to get it to everyone. Let's hope it's not an ongoing need to have it every year.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 12:04
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Someone pointed out a few weeks ago that the UK manages to get about 32 million people voting in a single day - it isn't beyond the whit of man to train enough people to simply give you a shot
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 12:36
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Someone pointed out a few weeks ago that the UK manages to get about 32 million people voting in a single day - it isn't beyond the whit of man to train enough people to simply give you a shot
Well not strictly true if you take postal votes into account. However under normal circumstances with no social distancing requirements, throughput could be quite high. But also records would need to be updated and a mix of those that are having first and second jabs makes me think it won't be as easy as some are thinking.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 12:40
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Someone pointed out a few weeks ago that the UK manages to get about 32 million people voting in a single day - it isn't beyond the whit of man to train enough people to simply give you a shot
Speaking to a pharmacist friend who is involved in the Covid vaccination process he explained that the challenge isn't just giving the shot. They can indeed quickly train people to give a shot. However, they also need to have the appropriate medical oversight, which seems like a good thing to me, and also they need to go to great lengths to clean the location between each shot.

You know how we're always slightly annoyed when the press or civvies say to the aviation community "Well that doesn't seem hard..." I think we have a similar case here. To steal an approach from one of our wiser PPruners, best wishes to all the boys and girls behind the scenes and front of house responsible for planning and delivering safe Covid vaccinations to our family, friends and of course ourselves.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 13:15
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Someone pointed out a few weeks ago that the UK manages to get about 32 million people voting in a single day - it isn't beyond the whit of man to train enough people to simply give you a shot
As long as they are also trained what to do if the person receiving the vaccine passes out from the thought of having a needle stuck in them, or has a severe allergic reaction to it that involves their windpipe swelling up and closing over as a result.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 13:34
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It's OK, the Army are going to do it - BBC News - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-55213148

'The Army could be used to help transport further stocks of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from Belgium to the UK, a Foreign Office minister says.

James Cleverly told BBC Breakfast the Covid-19 vaccine was a "top priority product" and the government was looking at non-commercial flight options.'
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 14:50
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Maybe I'm missing something here but this is the supply situation as I read it. There will/maybe delays at UK channel ports from Jan 1st or even blockades and closures of ports by French fishermen if they don't get full fishing rights. They may use this tactic as I had a couple of extra days in Normandy this time last year for what was an internal French problem.
So as a contingency the government have a plan to use military aircraft/personnel to transport the vaccine supplies. I imagine the alternative was to have given the job to commercial organisations but only after lengthy contract negotiations and squillions of pounds being handed over.
So the government for once seem to have a workable plan ahead of a possible problem at no or little cost to UK PLC. What is the problem? I'm only talking about the delivery from the continent which is what the Grauniad story was about not the actual jabbing of people.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 15:24
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From a Public Health perspective I don’t care who moves the vaccine just so long as it’s quick and efficient. My guess would be that the vaccine would always be moved between countries/continents by air. You then need an in country logistics network to get to the end user. Guess what - those networks exist and work really well and I’d like to think (hope) that those contract negotiations have already been done, though with governments you never really know. At peak season (now) we move 500k+ individual shipments through our main European hub every night. This is what we and all our competitors do all day and every day.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 16:24
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Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
Just remember - if it wasn't for Brexit, the vaccine wouldn't yet be approved for use in the UK. You'd still be waiting for the EU bureaucrats to decide...
Absolute tosh!!

FactCheck

Brexit did not speed up UK vaccine authorisation

  • 2 Dec 2020
The UK has become the first country in the world to authorise the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use, with the rollout due to start next week. Amid the excitement, Matt Hancock told an interviewer:
“It is absolutely clear that because we’ve left the EU I was able to change the law so that the UK alone could make this authorisation decision. So because we’ve left the EU, we’ve been able to move faster.”
His colleagues Jacob Rees Mogg and Nadine Dorries made
on Twitter
.

But it’s not correct. Here’s why.

Today’s decision comes from the UK’s independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It’s long worked in tandem with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) deciding which drugs are safe for use.

When we were part of the EU, the EMA had areas of jurisdiction that meant only it could make decisions about certain types of medicine, including vaccines. National regulators like the MHRA couldn’t get involved.

When the UK left the EU on 31 January this year, we entered the “transition period”, which means the European regulations we adopted during our time in the trade bloc are still in effect until the end of 2020.

That includes the rule that says vaccines generally must be authorised by the EMA instead of national regulators.

But as a UK government press release from 23 November 2020 states: “if a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, […] becomes available before the end of the transition period, EU legislation which we have implemented via Regulation 174 of the Human Medicines Regulations allows the MHRA to temporarily authorise the supply of a medicine or vaccine, based on public health need.”

So even if we were still a member of the EU, the UK regulator would have been able to take this decision on its own because EU law already allows it. Incidentally, that legislation took effect in the UK in 2012, long before Brexit was on the cards.

Asked whether Brexit had sped up the process, the head of the MHRA, Dr June Raine,
: “We have been able to authorise the supply of the vaccine using provisions under European law which exist until 1 January.”



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Old 7th Dec 2020, 16:40
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I was sent this by a not-at-all-cynical friend.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 18:07
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Originally Posted by 250 kts View Post
Absolute tosh!
OK! OK! OK!!!! I got it after the first correction - you don't need to pile on...
I made the mistake of believing a politician. I was told it was only Trump that lied - I stand corrected - it's all politicians.

Trust me, I won't make the mistake again.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 19:51
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Actually that ice cream van would be perfect for driving around rural areas vaccinating farmers and others.

Anyone got the chap's name?
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 20:10
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If there is no deal on Brexit the chaos at Dover is going to be so bad that all sorts of vital supplies are going to have to be airlifted, so the RAF might as well get geared up for what is to come.
General chaos aside, if there is no fisheries deal Calais will get blockaded on Jan 1st.
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Old 8th Dec 2020, 10:29
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Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
OK! OK! OK!!!! I got it after the first correction - you don't need to pile on...
I made the mistake of believing a politician. I was told it was only Trump that lied - I stand corrected - it's all politicians.

Trust me, I won't make the mistake again.
I'm not piling it on,merely giving some evidence for my two word answer. Just the same as you came on here with a statement but without any context or facts to back it up. If the Trump experience has taught us anything it should be that statements need to be backed up with some context that can then be actively checked. Many politicians lie but Trump does so without challenge in the main.
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 04:24
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Dry ice limits

I wonder if the dry ice restrictions on both cargo aircraft and empty passenger aircraft with belly cargo will be lifted or revised. The issue being CO2, could there be a detector on the flight deck and/or fresh air circulation?

if as reports suggest 8000 B747 size aircraft are needed to distribute the vaccine there must be work on this issue.
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 08:29
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"if as reports suggest 8000 B747 size aircraft are needed to distribute the vaccine"

I've never seen the assumptions behind that figure

It looks like the total number of movements required to move enough vaccine to do the whole world. In fact it'll roll out over 6-12 months and a lot will go locally (eg across Europe & USA) and then by truck I suspect

Luckily there is a lot of spare capacity around right now
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 10:43
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
"if as reports suggest 8000 B747 size aircraft are needed to distribute the vaccine"

I've never seen the assumptions behind that figure
This is from an IATA press release: https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-09-09-01/

"Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft."
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 12:16
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and as Asturias56 identifies, the task is not going to be concurrent, nor indeed rely on air freight for all recipients, and recent analysis of the situation from within the industry suggests that the task "is manageable": https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/fr...m#.X9C-4i2l1u0
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 14:06
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The IATA article was from a Media pack - obviously banging the big drum for the industry

the LLoyds list article is more ... thoughtful.."The International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Septemberstressed that the potential size of the vaccine delivery operation “is enormous”, estimating that “just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 B747 cargo aircraft”. IATA said governments “must also consider the current diminished cargo capacity of the global air transport industry”, warning that, with the severe downturn in passenger traffic, airlines have downsized networks and put many aircraft into remote long-term storage............................. However, freight forwarding and logistics specialists have told Lloyd’s Loading List that as further information has subsequently emerged about the nature of the vaccines and their likely manufacturing locations and logistical needs, they have become less concerned about the challenge in terms of flown air freight capacity.

Intra-regional distribution a factor

Mads Ravn, EVP and Global Head of Air Freight at forwarder DSV Panalpina, commented: “Unlike PPE and the extreme surge for air capacity in the second quarter of 2020, the COVID-19 vaccine will be produced more locally, and as such intra-regional distribution will offset much of the long-haul air cargo demand. The shipping of COVID-19 vaccine will be more complex, but we do not foresee the same capacity crunch as experienced earlier this year.” Neel Jones Shah, global head of air freight at Flexport, who observed: “If we take Pfizer for example, for the North American audience, the vast majority of the production will be manufactured in the US, which means they won’t need to rely on air transport but can rely on road transport.” Christoph Hemmann, DB Schenker’s SVP of Global Revenue Management Air Freight, commented: “It appears right now that the expected (air) capacity is less of a challenge than initially considered. We expect vaccines to be produced throughout several months, which will rather lead to a continuous demand for capacity solutions instead of a large one-time wave. Hemmann added: “The largest challenges are expected not necessarily during the air freight transportation itself, but in the final-mile distribution. Capacity is rather critical regarding storage and last-mile solutions due to current infrastructure limitations – even in modern economies and developed countries.”

1,000 dedicated flights needed

Robert Coyle, SVP for Pharma Services at global forwarding and logistics group Kuehne + Nagel (KN), also does not expect flight capacity to be such a major problem – particularly because of the number of passenger aircraft that are not currently flying, which could potentially be brought back into service if severe air capacity restraints emerge. “We are actively having conversations with all of our relationships, to ensure that we will have enough capacity ready to go, to be able to handle this influx,” he noted. He also believes initial calculations that the vaccine transport would require something like 8,000 cargo flights were an overestimate, according to analysis by KN and the consultants that it uses. “From our estimates, as you equate the number of doses into supply chain language – especially the products that are coming out at 2-8°C – if you look at flights needed assuming the product is a 2-8°C, and if we put 70 tonnes on a freighter, you’re talking about 1,000 flights,” said Coyle. “As the knowledge of the pharma, healthcare and vaccine space starts to come out, and with more real end products – and understanding the amount of doses that can sit on a pallet – then you can start to equate: how is this going to work, and is logistics really going to be the bottleneck? Or is the ability to manufacture the volume going to be the bottleneck?” Coyle said one thing that has sometimes been misunderstood in conversations about the freight capacity needed is that the vials containing COvid-19 vaccines “can hold one dose, five doses, 10 doses, and up to 20 doses. So, if we talk about 75 million doses, which would be equivalent to what they’re estimating is needed in Canada, that sounds like a lot; but when you break that down to number of pallets, the number of doses per pallet becomes a very critical number.”

That figure varies from company to company. “One company I’m thinking about does about 136,000 doses on a pallet – so that’s 551 pallets (needed to move those 75 million doses). We do 551 pallets in minutes across our supply chain,” says Coyle. “So, from a number standpoint, we feel like we have the capacity.”

Although he doesn’t underestimate the logistics challenge of distributing the vaccines worldwide, especially in countries with less-developed cool-chain infrastructure, he calculates that in basic air freight terms or in terms of pharma logistics scale, it is achievable. And weighing up all of the logistical challenges against the capabilities available, all in all Coyle is confident that it is a challenge that can be met. To put it into context, Coyle says the total volume of Covid-19 vaccines that are forecast to be needed to be shipped by air “is less than 1% of what we (as an industry) typically do for our overall air freight, and about 10% of (total global industry-wide) pharma healthcare (volumes), from 2019 numbers”. He concluded: “This is not an instance to talk about ‘can we do it’? This is an instance to talk about how we are going to do it. And I have at my disposal pretty much every asset in this company to pull this off. So, I’m not concerned about overall capacity and commitment.”



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