The first UPS truck carrying the Johnson & Johnson vaccine just arrived at the carrier’s Worldport hub in Louisville, Kentucky. The company says deliveries will start Tuesday for the eastern half of the country.
More trucks carrying the vaccine are expected to arrive at the facility throughout the day Monday.
UPS says two people will unload vaccine shipments by hand onto more than 150 miles of conveyer belt where machines will sort vaccine packages in 13 minutes time. Packages will then be loaded onto UPS cargo planes along with regular, everyday packages— even though vaccine shipments are getting priority over other packages.
UPS head of healthcare Wes Wheeler told CNN in an interview that the network has plenty of capacity to carry the new vaccine. The company has already shipped tens of millions of Pfizer and Moderna doses.
“The pressure was really high in December heading into peak season, of course. We had much more volume than we normally have,” Wheeler said. “But now we’re in a steady state, and adding another vaccine really is not a big problem for us. We have plenty of capacity, and we know exactly how to handle the data.”
Some more context: The White House said Monday 3.9 million doses are going out in this initial wave of shipments. Johnson & Johnson said Monday the goal is to distribute 20 million doses of the vaccine by the end of this month.