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Coronavirus
As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

DHL's Global Cincinnati Hub Playing Key Role In Vaccine Distribution

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DHL Express
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The COVID-19 vaccine DHL is shipping to Central And South America transfers through CVG.

The overnight shift at DHL has gotten even busier at the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport as workers ship the COVID-19 vaccine to Central and South America.

Company-wide, DHL Express has added thousands of employees and more flights, in part because of the shipments. All vaccine cargo for the Americas goes through its global hub at CVG.

Shipments to Mexico began in December. CEO for the Americas Mike Parra told WVXU the company has also gotten the vaccine to Chile, Costa Rica and Panama. Ten shipments went to Europe and DHL says some were sent to the Middle East.

"So our employees there at the hub (CVG) play a key role in making sure that obviously with the arrival, the unloading of the project is done according to our standards and the standards that we have agreed to," he says. "And then the reloading, flagging, containerization and alerting is done. So the team there plays a critical role to moving vaccines in an urgent and timely manner." 

He couldn't estimate what the economic impact of the vaccine shipments would be for DHL. "It's early days in regards to what this will mean in total for us in terms of an organization, being that we are still in our quiet period. I can't share financials around that." Parra says he will give more details at a later date.

Company-wide, DHL has added 6,000 new jobs and recently bought eight new 777s, in part because of the additional business from vaccine shipments.

"A number of those (777s) will come through Cincinnati, so we'll be adding additional flights into the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport and we're going to continue to expand there," Parra says.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.