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United Airlines helps distribute COVID-19 vaccines

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HOUSTON – United Airlines is taking part in Operation Warp Speed and helping distribute the COVID-19 vaccines to Americans.

“When we had the significant reduction to our passengers schedule, we realized we needed to do something to help,” said Christopher Busch, Managing Director, United Airlines.

Since March, United Airlines started “cargo-only” flights to help ship PPE all over the world.

Now, the company is helping by shipping the COVID-19 vaccine.

“...We move multiple flights from Brussels to Chicago with the vaccines,” said Busch.

United said it could ship more than one million doses of the vaccine in the belly of an airplane in one flight.

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The critical part is speed, so we want it to come off our airplane or onto our airplane as quickly as possible,” said Busch.

But if it must be stored, United has the capability to keep both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in its cargo facilities, like the one at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Temperatures in its cold storage facility can be adjusted and go as low as -100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The same for the cold storage containers, which cannot be opened once sealed.

Similar packages have tracking devices that are monitored 24 hours a day to ensure there’s no delay or temperature drop.

Busch said the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel after a tough year.

“It’s a sign that there are better things to come for the airline overall, and everybody be able to go out and enjoy traveling again,” said Busch.


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