FedEx, UPS to 'split country into two' for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, UPS exec says




Shipping giants FedEx and UPS will divide and conquer, and sometimes work together, to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses throughout the country, company executives told a U.S. Senate subcommittee Thursday.“Of course, FedEx and UPS have split the country into two,” said Wes Wheeler, president of Global Healthcare at UPS. “We know exactly what states we have, and they know what states they have.”The Commercial Appeal has reached out to FedEx and UPS for comment on what states each will be responsible for.Memphis-based FedEx Express has reserved capacity for COVID-19 vaccine shipments and is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to give flights with doses top priority, said Richard Smith, FedEx Express Regional President of the Americas. He added that FedEx and UPS are teaming up to get vaccine doses and related supplies shipped to administration sites.A slowdown in US population growth worsened by COVID-19Withdrawing from your 401(k) is a last resort — but CARES Act makes it less risky“In some cases, that relationship is interdependent, with them shipping the kitting and us shipping the vaccine to certain states, so we’re relying on one another,” Smith said.Both Smith and Wheeler spoke before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety as part of a hearing on the logistics of transporting a COVID-19 vaccine.Senators asked Smith and Wheeler questions including the priority vaccines take during the peak holiday shipping season, ability to quickly ship doses to rural areas and points in the process that are concerns or need regulatory relief.Smith said FedEx will be able to deliver vaccines to locations throughout the U.S. “absolutely, positively overnight,” with capacity reserved for the Operation Warp Speed distribution mission.“Once the vaccines are approved and ready for distribution, vaccine and related health care shipments will be the top priority for the FedEx Express network, with support provided by our FedEx Logistics and Custom Critical teams,” he said.FedEx has a priority alert team that will monitor and track vaccine shipments in transit, and the company will also use tools such as FedEx’s SenseAware ID device and the FedEx Surround platform, Smith said.“These technologies provide increased visibility and near real-time updates on sensitive packages,” he said. “Our FedEx Priority Alert teams and health care customers will have access to this information, enabling us to intervene and intercept a shipment if necessary.”Regulatory approval and distribution of Pfizer’s vaccine could come this week. The independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee began their meeting Thursday morning to review and vote on whether to allow the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for general use.If the committee recommends Food and Drug Administration approval and the FDA authorizes it, vaccine doses will be shipped to all 50 states and outlying U.S. territories within 24 hours, USA TODAY reported. FedEx and UPS will ship Pf

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