Cold Chain Drone Delivery: Swoop Aero Delivers Ultra-Cold Pfizer Vaccines in Malawi

cold chain drone deliverySwoop Aero Delivers Ultracold Pfizer Vaccines in Malawi, demonstrating cold chain drone technology.

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Australian drone-based logistics company Swoop Aero has succeeded in transporting critical Pfizer vaccines in Malawi. The air delivery of the vaccines, which require ultra-cold chain conditions, marks a milestone for Malawi, as well as for Swoop Aero and medical air deliveries in general, showcasing the potential the technology has to support public health.

Over 17,280 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been successfully delivered across the Southern districts of Malawi so far, with manufacturers such as AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson making use of the existing Swoop Aero drone network to quickly distribute critical vaccines to remote communities. Swoop Aero intends to deliver thousands more vaccines as they become available.

“The delivery of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines underscores the novel value of bi-directional drone networks in Malawi,” said Swoop Aero CEO Eric Peck. “The global supply chain bottlenecks evidenced over the past two years have demonstrated the need for agile and robust solutions that complement existing methods of transportation to ensure the vaccines are distributed to those in need in a timely and effective manner.”

cold chain drone delivery

Swoop Aero continues its ongoing collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Population, alongside VillageReach and with funding from Focusing Philanthropy, to increase the scale of the bi-directional drone network to a national level over the course of the next several months. This increase in scale would significantly increase the availability and accessibility of essential health supplies for 700,000 people directly, and 3 million people indirectly.

cold chain drone deliveryThe Swoop Aero drone network has maintained a routine and on-demand bi-directional drone network for communities cut off from essential health services as a result of flooding caused by the recent natural disaster. This continued network operation has allowed for reliable routine vaccination clinics for COVID-19 as well as other preventable and communicable diseases, such as malaria, TB and polio, all of which have seen an increase as a result of poor water and sanitation conditions.

Swoop Aero has had similar success in the past utilizing their ultra cold chain drone solution by transporting the Ebola vaccine in DR Congo. This technology allows for the rapid distribution of routine and emergency health supplies, paving the way forward for use in high, middle and low resource settings.

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.