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Teamsters Deliver First COVID-19 Vaccines

With cameras rolling the first vaccine was delivered at 7:20 AM to a hospital in North Carolina

Kris LaGrange's picture
Dec 14, 2020

Following the FDA’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, a national race was on to deliver the vaccine to hospitals and health care clinics so that frontline workers could begin getting vaccinated on Monday morning. With so much riding on the success of the vaccine, Teamsters at UPS were called into action to deliver the vaccine.

According to the Teamsters, the first shipment was delivered on Monday, December 14th at 7:20 AM. The delivery was made to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“I had no idea I would be delivering the vaccine until I got to work,” said Danny P, an air driver and member of Teamsters Local 391. “It’s crazy. I called my wife to tell her. I had no idea I was going to be one of the first delivering the vaccine.”

According to the UPS, both the company and the workforce have been preparing to move the vaccine since the summer. The Pfizer vaccine is especially difficult to move since it must be kept at extremely low temperatures and has a relatively short shelf life, making speedy delivery all the more important.

“This is the moment of truth we’ve been waiting for at UPS,” says Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare. “We have spent months strategizing with Operation Warp Speed officials and our healthcare customers on efficient vaccine logistics, and the time has arrived to put the plan into action.”

UPS is the single largest employer for the Teamsters union who represents 260,000 packing and shipping employees at the company. Teamsters members also work at dry ice manufacturer Capitol Carbonic in Baltimore who will be producing the dry ice to keep the vaccines at temperatures of -90 degrees, which is colder than the surface of Mars.

UPS will be the main shipper of the Pfizer vaccine and plans to move hundreds of thousands of doses over the next few weeks from the manufacturing facilities in Michigan and Wisconsin to their UPS Worldport facilities in Louisville where it will be flown by Next Day Air to hospitals around the country.

“It’s very exciting,” Danny said. “It’s good to know we’re helping to get the vaccine to where it needs to go. I’m proud to be a Teamster and I’m proud that the Teamsters are delivering the vaccine.”

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