The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine just arrived in Dubai to kick off an extensive immunization campaign all over the UAE. Yesterday, the Ministry of Health announced the emergency registration of the vaccine, which is estimated to be 95% successful in preventing COVID-19. Right after the announcement, Dubai’s Supreme Committee for Crisis and Disaster Management said in a statement, “Wide and free vaccination campaign against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine would start immediately.” Therefore, last night there were images, as well as a video released on the Government of Dubai Media Office, showing the transported vaccines from Brussels on Emirates SkyCargo.
This vaccine was described as a ‘messenger’ because it only acts on delivering instructions to the body cells and how to respond if it got infected with the coronavirus before disappearing. And one of the important instructions to store the vaccine is it must be kept in ultra-cold freezers at -70°C in order to maintain the structure of the mRNA for up to six months.
There has never been a vaccine or a drug that has required such cold storage before, which lead Pfizer to develop a special method to transport the doses called a ‘thermal shipper’. It’s the company’s suitcase-sized shipper that’s able to store vaccines for up to 10 days. The shipper’s reusable boxes can store up to 5,000 doses, should be packed with dry ice, and installed along with trackers in order to monitor the location and temperature of the frozen vaccine. The boxes can be opened twice a day for less than three minutes at a time, once removed, the vaccines can be kept at 2-7°C for five days only.
Emirates is proud to be transporting the first batch of Pfizer vaccines for COVID-19 into the UAE for the Dubai Health Authority. Our healthcare ecosystem has played an absolutely critical role in every step of the fight against COVID-19. I would like to thank everyone who has worked unceasingly over the last year to protect the lives of those most vulnerable against the disease. In recognition of their immense contribution to the wellbeing of everyone in the UAE, it has been our honor to transport these vaccines free of charge on our flight.H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group