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Medical Drone Company to Transport COVID-19 Vaccine

Zipline Inc., a drone delivery service that specializes in medical supplies, recently announced that it plans to begin transporting COVID-19 vaccines in April.

The South San Francisco-based startup said in a release that it is partnering with “a leading manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines” in all of the markets where its drones currently operate. Zipline has been delivering medicine and supplies to rural clinics in Rwanda and Ghana since 2016 and, last year, began delivering personal protective equipment to hospitals and clinics in North Carolina. It plans to add operations in Nigeria later this year.

Zipline declined to specify its vaccine partner but said it has built a system that can deliver ultra-low temperature medical supplies, including “all leading COVID-19 vaccines.” The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech must be stored in extreme cold at temperatures of negative 70 degrees Celsius, requiring special freezers. Zipline plans to add these ultra-cold refrigerators at all of its distribution centers.