KLM and Dutch Ministry of Health Begin Transport of COVID-19 Vaccines to Caribbean
Today, KLM and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport began the transport of COVID-19 vaccines to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The first shipment departed Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for Bonaire and Aruba.
On Tuesday (February 16, 2021), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced that in coordination with the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines was transported to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The shipment departed Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for Bonaire and Aruba, with further shipments planned to the various islands in the coming weeks. The vaccines were loaded under the supervision of Dutch State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport, Paul Blokhuis and KLM’s CEO, Pieter Elbers. In Tuesday’s announcement, Mr. Elbers, said,
“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine is very good news for us all. It brings us closer to ending the pandemic and the terrible crisis we have been facing worldwide for more than a year now. We worked with our cargo division in recent months to prepare swift and secure vaccine transport worldwide and we have now embarked on this highly complex and demanding task. Today's transport is special because it is the first in a series of KLM flights to Bonaire, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten (including Saba and Sint Eustatius) carrying Covid-19 vaccines. KLM has a long and unique history of cooperation with the islands and we enjoy a warm relationship with them as a result. The Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are also going through a difficult time and we are proud and happy to be of service to their people in this way.”
Also commenting on the vaccine shipment, Secretary Blokhuis said,
“Many people have been working flat out for a year to get the coronavirus under control in the Caribbean region of the Kingdom. The first vaccines to reach all the islands this week mark a hopeful turning point in the struggle to end this crisis.”
Air France-KLM Martinair Cargo transports over 80,000 pharmaceutical shipments annually and has many years of experience in handling temperature controlled shipments.
Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine poses various transport and security challenges and the carrier’s cargo division has developed a dedicated process to ensure swift, reliable and safe distribution of the vaccines. Each different COVID-19 vaccine has specific temperature requirements from +2 to +8 degrees Celsius and must be frozen at -20 degrees Celsius, or between -70 and -80 degrees Celsius.
Therefore, temperatures must be guaranteed throughout transport. Today’s shipment of Pfizer vaccines to Bonaire and Aruba were packed with dry ice to ensure they will remain at the proper temperature for several days, providing they are stored in an environment from between +2 to +25 degrees Celsius. Upon arrival, they will be immediately stored in an appropriate temperature-controlled environment.
Source: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines