Drones fly vaccines to remote island in first-of-its-kind delivery

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/ Source: CNBC.com

By Chloe Taylor, CNBC

A one-month old baby in the Pacific island of Vanuatu became the first person in history to be given a vaccine delivered commercially by drone on Tuesday.

The drone travelled almost 25 miles to deliver medical equipment to the remote area of Cook’s Bay, which is usually only accessible by foot or locally operated boats. Thirteen children and five pregnant women were vaccinated in the area that lacks basic healthcare system.

Tech from Australian firm Swoop Aero successfully delivered the vaccines to Cook’s Bay, marking the first time a government has contracted a commercial drone company to transport vaccines to remote areas. Vanuatu’s government is looking to integrate drone delivery into its national immunization program and roll the technology out for wider distribution of medical supplies.

Joy Nowai, the world’s first child to be given a vaccine delivered commercially by drone in Vanuatu.Unicef

Vaccines are difficult to transport as they must be stored at precise temperatures. Vanuatu is a particularly difficult location for vaccine delivery due to its warm climate and a limited number of roads across its 80 islands. Around one in five Vanuatuan children consequently miss out on essential childhood vaccinations.

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