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Press Release: Bonn, May 20 2021

  • Deutsche Post DHL Group deploys employees to support UNICEF's COVAX¬† supply chain operations
  • Deutsche Post DHL Group has signed the World Economic Forum charter supporting COVAX vaccine distribution¬†
  • Collaboration helps accelerate global COVID-19 vaccines distribution

Deutsche Post DHL Group deploys staff through secondments to support UNICEF's role as the lead delivery partner for the COVAX Facility. Three logistics experts have been tasked to perform particular functions at UNICEF's Supply Division based in Copenhagen, as well as at a regional Supply Hub in Dubai. They will be involved in a variety of tasks related to analyzing logistics data, management of inbound shipments and distribution of humanitarian supplies, and supporting the coordination of airfreight shipments of vaccines.

UNICEF is leading efforts to supply COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the COVAX Facility, which aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country. COVAX is the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) and is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF.

"We are very proud to be able to support UNICEF with our expertise in Life Science & Healthcare Logistics for such an important task. By contributing to speeding up vaccine distribution, we are helping ensure that the pandemic can be tackled more quickly and that children are supported, especially those who are already living in poverty and health emergencies," says Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL. "As logistics experts, our staff know the challenges and have the right knowledge to overcome these. It is our responsibility to provide help."

The COVID-19 pandemic and its secondary effects are taking an unprecedented toll on the health and well-being of children around the world. It could reverse years of progress in reducing child poverty, depriving children of vital services and placing families in financial hardship. With that in mind, in December 2020 the World Economic Forum (WEF), UNICEF and initially 18 companies - including Deutsche Post DHL Group - signed a charter to support the COVAX preparedness efforts and implementation. The charter fosters multi-stakeholder collaborative action to achieve globally inclusive, safe and sustainable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

"I see it as an incredible opportunity to be part of a both meaningful and historical project," says Malene Klokkerholm Moller, Logistics Data Analyst. "In my role at UNICEF's Supply Division I support the supply chain management and logistics operations through data analyses. This includes ensuring good tracking and visibility of COVID-19 vaccine shipments, monitoring supply forecasts, and providing analyses for streamlining shipment planning. The analyses will optimize the logistic planning process and lead to a reduction of delivery times for the COVID-19 vaccines shipments."

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, demand for medical supplies has surged. In the past year, UNICEF alone has shipped 246 million gloves, 273 million face masks, and over 20 million N95 respirators. Bringing medical supplies from their distant sources to use at the frontline has been one of the most crucial activities in pandemic response management during the first phase of the health emergency. Now, the authorization and equitable distribution of vaccines constitutes the current phase in the fight against COVID-19.

On a global scale, logistics providers are challenged to establish efficient and effective medical supply chains rapidly to deliver more than 10bn doses of vaccines worldwide (including 2bn doses for COVAX) - also in regions with less developed logistics infrastructures, where ~3bn people live. To provide global coverage over the next two years, up to 200k pallet shippers and 15m cooling boxes as well as 15k flights will be required across the various supply chain setups.

Outside of COVAX, Deutsche Post DHL Group takes over large parts of the storage and transport of the vaccines through its logistics services, and thus already plays a crucial role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. By supporting UNICEF through the secondments, and together with other partners and stakeholders, Deutsche Post DHL Group works towards meeting the objectives of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A): to promote the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to guarantee equitable access for every country in the world.

More than 9,000 specialists work across DHL's dedicated global network so that pharmaceutical, medical devices, clinical trials and research organizations, and distributors, as well as hospitals and healthcare providers are connected across the value chain. Within its portfolio for the LSH sector, DHL deploys 150+ pharmacists and operates 20+ clinical trials depots, 100+ certified stations, 160+ GDP-qualified warehouses, 15+ GMP-certified sites, 135+ medical express sites, and a time-definite international express network covering 220 countries and territories.