China is capable of transporting sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines smoothly, the Ministry of Transport said on Thursday.
"With an increasing number of people having received vaccines across China, it puts more pressure on transporting vaccines. The resurgence of scattered cases has lead to more people wanting to get vaccinated," said Sun Wenjian, a spokesman for the ministry.
According to the National Health Commission, as of Tuesday, more than 546.71 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered across China.
To ensure the smooth transportation of vaccine doses, the ministry released a list of 56 logistics companies as the main carriers to ship the vaccines.
The ministry investigated the transportation capacity and has promoted cooperation between enterprises dealing with vaccine production and transportation.
He added that top 30 logistics companies for transporting medicines have nearly 8,000 vehicles with frozen storage equipment, and about 300,000 frozen storage boxes, which meet the country's needs in transporting vaccines.
The ministry — along with the police, the health commission, civil aviation and medical regulatory bodies, and railway operators — arranges the trips accordingly, including coordination between vaccine producers and logistics suppliers, monitoring transportation on the way and preventing risks.
The ministry has provided free shipping for vaccine-makers and 32 provincial-level centers for disease control, shipping over 1.6 million doses of vaccine for free.
A 24-hour hotline has been set up to handle issues related to vaccine transportation, and a total of 310 related cases have dealt with so far, the ministry said.
A guideline on the transportation of vaccine doses by road was issued in January, which set outs standardized procedures to ensure their fast and safe transportation.
According to the guideline, close coordination is required throughout the entire transportation process, including placing orders and inspecting cargo.
Transport and customs departments have to ensure they prioritize vaccine transportation.
Drivers and inspectors on board are required to carry out inspections before loading. It is forbidden to open the cargo on the journey without any justifiable reason.
Two drivers are required for journeys of more than 300 kilometers. Two sets of equipment to test and record temperatures are also mandatory on board. The vaccines should be transported at a temperature of 2 to 8 C.
Sun said China will continue to improve cooperation between departments and enhance arrangements accordingly to ensure the safe and fast transportation of vaccine doses.