In its ongoing efforts to distribute Covid-19 vaccines, the government of Mexico has again called on Direct Relief to provide support.
Direct Relief helped to prepare a delivery of 65,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for shipment from Mexico City to Kingston, Jamaica. The organization provided cold storage shippers for the vaccines, ensuring that they were packed and shipped according to appropriate cold chain standards.
In addition, Direct Relief offered customs support and logistics expertise, preparing shipping documents on behalf of the Mexican government. The Mexican Air Force delivered the vaccines to Kingston via a 737 aircraft.
The shipment was the latest installment in the Mexican government’s ongoing work to distribute Covid-19 vaccines. Earlier this month, Direct Relief facilitated the delivery of 1.35 million vaccine doses to Mexico, and a total of 400,000 doses from Mexico to Belize, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
Last week, Direct Relief team members coordinated the delivery of more than 400,000 vaccines from Mexico to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
As a registered charity in both the United States and Mexico, Direct Relief is uniquely able to arrange the cross-border donation of cold chain medications.
The organization has commercial-grade licensing and infrastructure for pharmaceutical distribution, and is able to safely and effectively transport medications that must be refrigerated or kept frozen. In addition, Direct Relief’s logistics partnerships and expertise in customs clearance make it ideally suited for this kind of support.
Only a small percentage – approximately 5.9%, according to Our World in Data – of the Jamaica’s nearly 3 million residents have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. The emergence of the more-contagious Delta variant in more than 80 countries around the world has raised concerns about the country’s vulnerability.
On Wednesday, the Pan American Health Organization – a regional part of the World Health Organization – addressed vaccine disparities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Only one in 10 people in the region have been fully vaccinated, an “unacceptable situation,” a representative from the organization said.
To support the Jamaican Ministry of Health in its goal of increasing cold-chain capacity, Direct Relief provided 20 medical grade refrigeration units to the island nation earlier this year. The units were distributed to 13 of Jamaica’s 14 parishes.
In addition, Direct Relief has played an ongoing and crucial role in bolstering Covid-19 vaccination efforts. In the United States, the organization has donated more than $12 million in vaccine-specific funding to the country’s safety net, provided portable ultracold freezers for storing the Pfizer vaccine, and hosted vaccine clinics, among other measures.
Since the pandemic began in January of 2020, Direct Relief has delivered more than 5,200 tons of medical aid via 40,400 humanitarian shipments, with support from FedEx as well as other logistical partners. Those shipments contained more than 113 million units of PPE and more than 325.5 million defined daily doses of medication, including Covid-19 antibody treatments.
In response to the ever-changing needs of the pandemic, Direct Relief will continue to provide necessary medical resources, including vaccines, PPE, Covid-19 treatments, and other aid required to care for patients, keep workers safe, and respond to the pandemic’s long-term effects on health and health care.