UPS Flight Forward is now making COVID-19 vaccine deliveries via drone for Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, using new cold chain packaging developed specifically for drones.
According to UPS Flight Forward, this is the first COVID-19 vaccine drone delivery in the U.S. and is an extension of current work for Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. UPS’s drone airline received a first-of-kind approval from the FAA to carry alkaline and lithium batteries, which are needed to power temperature monitoring devices required by the CDC for COVID-19 vaccine transport.
“This program paves the way for drones to become a meaningful link within highly-specialized cold chain logistics,” said Dan Gagnon, vice president of global marketing for UPS Healthcare.
UPS Flight Forward worked with Cold Chain Technologies to design a custom, drone-sized solution to maintain temperature control at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
“Not only are UPS Flight Forward and Cold Chain Technologies demonstrating a more sustainable way to open vaccine access to remote communities, but the implications extend far beyond COVID-19,” Dan said. “This new cold chain drone capability is a proof point of opportunity for all our healthcare customers, including clinical trial shipments, cold chain pharmaceuticals and other temperature-sensitive biologics.”
See vaccine shipments take to the skies.