American Airlines ships millions of COVID-19 vaccines from Chicago to Guatemala

Millions of doses of the Moderna vaccine are headed to Guatemala today, compliments of the U.S. government.

The vaccine came from a distribution center in Kentucky to an American Airlines Cargo facility at O’Hare Airport.

American says it’s working closely with the White House COVID-19 task force by donating a cargo-only nonstop flight to La Aurora-International airport in Guatemala City.

The airline already shipped out 1.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine in July. This second shipment to Guatemala will send 3 million additional doses.

The large containers of vaccines were loaded onto a Boeing 777-300 this morning.

The donation puts the Biden administration a step closer to its goal of sharing 80 million doses of COVID vaccine this summer.


Dennis Wagner, the general manager at American Airlines Cargo, says the airline worked closely with pharmaceutical and logistics partners to get the vaccine safely.

"It’s very special cargo," said Wagner. "We do this each and every day, but today’s special, to be able to make a difference in the Guatemalan lives. "

Guatemalan Vice-Consul Ivonne Sanchez, who was at the facility to oversee the operation, said, "The government of Guatemala appreciates the generous donation of the government of the United States of three million vaccines which will help to save many lives in our country and prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Guatemalan people "are very willing to get vaccinated," Sanchez said.

American Airlines president Robert Isom said in a news release that "Whether it is keeping the economy moving by adding cargo-only flights during the height of the pandemic or providing essential air travel for those who needed it, our team has remained ready to rise to any challenge. We are proud to be part of this life-saving effort to get the vaccine to the Guatemalan people."