PHARMA.AERO UAV PROJECT: Vaccines’ drone delivery significantly shortens transit time in remote areas in Malawi, Africa

The use of drones has the potential to shorten vaccination transit times in difficult-to-reach places from six hours to 20 minutes, according to VillageReach, a health organization that collaborates with the Malawi government, UPS and Swoop Aero to deliver COVID-19 to remote areas in Malawi, Africa.

Pharma.Aero is road mapping the use of drones in this particular area, as part of its UAV Project that aims to optimize the transport of pharma by using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The main objective of the UAV Project is to offer common understanding and provide thought leadership on opportunities to link airfreight and drone delivery to reduce delivery time for Pharma products. The final goal of the collaborative development is to evolve from the pilot project into scaled operations.

Read here the White Paper published after the first phase of the UAV Project (webinar and survey), in August 2021. 

In the second phase of the UAV Project, an interactive 360° educational video was created to show more details from a real drone lab, with information on different types of drones and insights into a drone operation.

The 360° video is available online for Pharma.Aero members only. 

Since 2020, Swoop Aero and VillageReach have improved the accessibility and availability of routine and emergency health supplies, delivering more than 63,000 vaccines, including AstraZenecaPfizer, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. Now, with the assistance of UPS, VillageReach and Swoop Aero are expanding their reach from three to more than 20 districts across Malawi, linking almost 100 hard-to-reach clinics with hospitals, pharmacies, and labs, allowing thousands more people to receive the treatment they require.

Drone delivery is progressively lowering vaccine shipping costs while improving vaccination availability. These initiatives to reach marginalized groups are especially important given that just 17% of the African continent is completely immunized against COVID-19. 

For more on Pharma.Aero innovative projects, contact us at 


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