Part of the Biden administration’s new strategy on allocating COVID-19 vaccines targets rural communities, which have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. In line with that goal as well as the imperative to speed vaccines to remote areas worldwide, major carriers have adopted innovative approaches to ensure that people don’t have to travel far to get the vaccine from a trusted source.
Since late last year, UPS and FedEx have made major adjustments to get COVID-19 vaccines in the hands of remote medical workers both domestically and globally.
Timing is everything
Ironically, a couple months before the pandemic exploded, UPS started a separate division, UPS Healthcare. It launched in January 2020. The goal was to focus on complex medical products like vaccines, as well as many others. Then the pandemic hit the U.S. hard that spring.
“We had this major disruption. So most of our attention was taking our resources and focusing on testing,” Dan Gagnon, vice president of global healthcare strategy and marketing at UPS, told FreightWaves. “We were helping the federal government set up national test sites, and we were helping states set up their COVID testing sites. We put up the tents, we’d get the kits to them, we’d collect the samples and bring them back to the labs.”