This allowed the drug to reach remote areas deprived of traditional logistics services in Ghana, as the company delivered the first vaccines that were made available to Africa through the COVAX initiative.
Zipline started its blood transfusion and pharmaceutical operations in Rwanda in 2016, and the company has since expanded its operations to Ghana in 2019.
In 2020, it delivered medical supplies and personal protective equipment in North Carolina, the United States, in May.
Zipline operates four distribution centers in Ghana, each of which is a drone airport and partial medical warehouse, and houses a fleet of 30 fixed-wing unmanned aircraft as well as medical supplies.
The plane flies to its destination independently, the parcels are unloaded through the parachute and returned to the airport.
Zipline says: Each distribution center can make deliveries in a surrounding area of 22,500 square kilometers.
Since 2019, the company has conducted more than 50,000 deliveries in Ghana, including more than 1 million vaccines, and claims its services can reach 12 million people, just over a third of the country’s total population.
Zipline drones can deliver to hospitals, in addition to makeshift mobile clinics that are being used to distribute the Coronavirus vaccine in remote areas of the country.
The epidemic has demonstrated the benefits of Zipline technology, particularly when drones require minimal human interaction.
The company said: There were a lot of traditional models that collapsed during the pandemic, and the number of vaccines passing through our system increased tenfold during the first two or three weeks of lockdown.
The rapid nature of the drone delivery helps to address the challenges presented by cold chain logistics.
And you don’t have to worry about traffic delays in the sky, and drones, flying at 100 kilometers per hour, take an average of just 30 to 40 minutes to complete each delivery.
Zipline received the first batch of vaccines earlier this month, and it carried out 36 deliveries and distributed 4,500 doses in one day.
Zipline says it plans over the next 12 months to distribute about 2.5 million doses across Ghana.