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First batch of Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Singapore

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore • 2 min read
First batch of Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Singapore
The vaccines carried via flight SQ7979, a scheduled freighter service from Brussels, Belgium, arrived at just before 8 pm.
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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has delivered the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines to Singapore earlier this evening, marking the first such shipment to Asia.

The vaccines carried via flight SQ7979, a scheduled freighter service from Brussels, Belgium, arrived at just before 8 pm.

“The delivery of this first batch of Covid-19 vaccines to Singapore is an important milestone in the fight against Covid-19, and we are honoured to be able to play a part in this,” said Chin Yau Seng, SIA’s senior vice president cargo.

“It also served to demonstrate SIA’s and the Singapore air hub’s readiness for the very important job of transporting and distributing Covid-19 vaccines internationally,” he adds.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Dec 14 that Singapore has set aside more than $1 billion to secure vaccines from various sources, which, besides Pfizer-BioNTech, also includes Moderna and Sinovac.

The vaccines will then be offered to all locals and long-term residents for free.


See: Changi gets ready with tons of dry ice for vaccines

In a statement by SIA, the shipment was prioritised for loading into the aircraft in Brussels and was given similar precedence during unloading in Singapore.

It was then transported to SATS’ cold-chain facility, Coolport, for subsequent storage and ground transportation. The vaccine has to be kept below 70 degrees Celsius.

In its separate statement, DHL Global Forwarding said it arranged for the collection of the vaccines from the manufacturing site in Puurs, Belgium where the cargo was accompanied by security escorts on the road to the Brussels International Airport.

DHL handled the customs clearance and final delivery to a designated location in Singapore. The company will also handle the return of these special shipper boxes to Europe.

"Globally, we have been preparing for many months to ensure DHL’s solutions were heavily tested with the most stringent vaccine requirements in mind. We ran trials to ensure the viability of the deliveries," said Kelvin Leung, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific.

"Every effort was made to ensure the vaccines are delivered within the fastest possible time, ensuring the quality, safety and security of these critical shipments," he added.

Photo credits: Chang Airport Group / Ministry of Communications and Information / DHL

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