SANTA BARBARA, Calif., June 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The governments of both the United States and Mexico turned to Direct Relief to facilitate international deliveries of more than 1.75 million shots of coronavirus vaccine between Saturday and today. The deliveries include 1.35 million doses from the U.S. to Mexico and a total of 400,000 doses from Mexico to Belize, Bolivia and Paraguay.
A FedEx flight arrived today at Toluca International Airport near Mexico City with 1.35 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. government sent the vaccine to Mexico with support from Direct Relief, which arranged to fly the doses from the U.S. to Mexico via its longstanding relationship with FedEx.
"I am deeply grateful to Direct Relief as well as to Eddie Mendoza, Director of Direct Relief México, for cold chain donations to Belize, Bolivia and Paraguay, as well as the support to bring vaccines from the United States," said Martha Delgado Peralta, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "With your help, lives are being saved!"
"We thank FedEx and Direct Relief for generously supporting the transportation of vaccines," the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said today on Twitter.
Mexican officials have said the shots would be used along Mexico's border with the U.S. as part of an effort to fully reopen border crossings that are currently restricted to essential travel, according to the Associated Press.
Direct Relief, as a registered charity in both the U.S. and Mexico, has unique capabilities in arranging and conducting cross-border donations of cold-chain pharmaceuticals - including its commercial-grade licensing and infrastructure for pharmaceutical distribution, its ability to transport refrigerated and frozen medication safely, its customs clearance expertise, and its network of logistics and public health partnerships.
"It's a privilege for Direct Relief to join FedEx and help execute this critical provision of COVID-19 vaccine from the government of the U.S. to the government of Mexico, and we are profoundly grateful to FedEx for making it possible," said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. "As we move into a period when large volumes of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be shared between countries, Direct Relief stands ready to help whenever needed."
As the U.S. provided vaccines to its southern neighbor, the government of Mexico was sharing vaccines with countries to its south. Mexico's Air Force flew 100,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine to Belize on June 12 and 150,000 doses each to Bolivia and Paraguay on Sunday. Direct Relief secured the specialized shipping containers needed to keep the vaccines from Mexico cold and arranged for the medicine to be safely packed.
Paraguay and Bolivia are experiencing the worst surges in COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began last year. On Friday, June 11, Paraguay saw 390 new cases per million people, while Bolivia reported 203 per million, vs. 46 per million in the U.S., according to ourworldindata.org. In Paraguay, less than 5% of the population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, vs. about 13% in Bolivia.
As a crucial part of the global supply chain for donated medical resources, Direct Relief is delivering COVID-19 therapies, medications, and supplies throughout the U.S., Mexico, and to more than 100 countries worldwide.
Since the pandemic began, Direct Relief has delivered more than 4,850 tons of medical aid via 38,600 humanitarian shipments, with support from FedEx and others. Contained in those shipments were more than 2,076 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) and nearly 300 million doses of medication, including COVID-19 antibody treatments and other medications.
Direct Relief has extensive experience working with the world's largest medical manufacturers to distribute cold-chain prescription medications connected with humanitarian and emergency-response efforts. Since January 2020, Direct Relief has provided 38 million doses of temperature-sensitive medication requiring refrigerated shipping to 60 countries.
As COVID-19 remains a global threat, Direct Relief will continue providing vital medical resources such as vaccines, personal protective equipment and supplies needed for patient care, health worker safety, and addressing the pandemic's long-term effects.
About Direct ReliefA humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need—without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. For more information, please visit https://www.DirectRelief.org.
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SOURCE Direct Relief