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As coronavirus vaccines enter final stages, Kentucky distributors prepare to store and ship them

In Louisville, the UPS Worldport is playing a key role when it comes to delivering vaccines. Other companies like DHL are also prepping for delivery.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — "It's an extremely busy time I think for all of us in the logistics industry at the moment," said Larry St. Onge who is the President of Life Sciences and Healthcare at DHL. 

With the looming deadline of a fast-tracked FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, the weight is being felt on distributors to get these vaccines to people in need.

"You can't underestimate this, this is the largest logistics healthcare problem the world's ever seen," said St. Onge.

DHL is a delivery service that is partnering with Pfizer, one of the top two companies showing promising results for a vaccine. 

"Certainly working with them in frequent conversation and planning and analyzing how we can potentially be a part of the solution to move forward," said St. Onge. 

Ensuring the vaccines are shipped in proper conditions and show up unharmed to clients is a big task. One that DHL says takes a huge amount of collaboration between manufacturers, the private and public sector. 

"In many cases, the product won't get stored for long periods of time, so I anticipate that there are solutions out there, but we are analyzing our network," said St. Onge. 

Some of the vaccines need to be cooled in freezers up to minus 80 degrees Celsius. UPS is currently expanding at their GMP facility in Louisville to ensure they have space to store any vaccine. They're adding more cooler and freezer space. 

"In order to make healthcare happen, the logistics have to happen too. Because the best therapies, the best treatments and devices in the world won't make a difference if they're not where the patient needs them," said St. Onge. 

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