01 March 2022 MELBOURNE, Australia and LILONGWE, Malawi: Swoop Aero successfully moved critical Pfizer vaccines, which require ultra-cold chain conditions, in Malawi. This air delivery represents a “first” for Malawi and is an important milestone for the country, medical air deliveries and Swoop Aero, demonstrating the value of the technology to support public health.
To date, more than 17,280 COVID-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers including AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson have been successfully distributed across the Southern districts of Malawi, leveraging the existing Swoop Aero drone network to rapidly send critical vaccines to hard-to-reach and isolated communities. Swoop Aero plans to distribute thousands more vaccines as the supply of the vaccines becomes available.
“The delivery of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines underscores the novel value of bi-directional drone networks in Malawi. The global supply chain bottlenecks evidenced over the past two years have demonstrated the need for agile and robust solutions that complement existing methods of transportation to ensure the vaccines are distributed to those in need in a timely and effective manner”. Eric Peck, CEO of Swoop Aero Swoop Aero continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Population, alongside VillageReach and with funding from Focusing Philanthropy, to scale up the bi-directional drone network to a national level over the coming months. The national network will improve the availability and accessibility of essential health supplies for 700,000 people directly, and 3 million people indirectly.
During the recent natural disaster, the Swoop Aero drone network has continued to operate a routine and on-demand bi-directional drone network for communities cut off from essential health services due to flooding. The continued operation of the Swoop Aero network during this time has facilitated the reliability of routine vaccination clinics for COVID-19 as well as other preventable and communicable diseases, including malaria, TB and polio, which have surged due to poor water and sanitation conditions. Swoop Aero has previously validated their ultracold chain solution by transporting the Ebola vaccine in DR Congo. The complete technology stack supports the rapid distribution of routine and emergency health supplies and paved the way forward for the scaled use of the technology in high, middle and low resource settings.