Leading Dubai companies have formed an alliance to move 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines around the globe this year.
Air carrier Emirates, ports operator DP World and Dubai Airports have teamed up to speed up the distribution of inoculations through Dubai, the Gulf trade and tourism center that now aims to become a vaccine hub as well.
The move “will particularly focus on emerging markets, where populations have been hard hit by the pandemic, and pharmaceutical transport and logistics are challenging,” according to the announcement by the government’s media office.
International Humanitarian City, a Dubai-based emergency response center, has also joined the alliance.
Abu Dhabi did a similar hookup in November when it formed a consortium combining its air cargo facility, port and health care purchasing arm with Swiss container designer SkyCell AG to facilitate the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines globally.
The United Arab Emirates, of which both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are a part, plans to start manufacturing the vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm this year. The oil-rich country has approved Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s shot, and Russia’s Sputnik V, and has since rolled out an ambitious vaccination campaign. It has so far inoculated a quarter of its population of 10 million, third after Israel and Seychelles.
Supply shortages and logistical problems are slowing vaccine drives the world over. Dubai postponed its first dose of Pfizer vaccine and the European Union unveiled a plan to restrict exports.