Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A Zipline drone makes a delivery in Rwanada in 2017. Photo: Cyril Ndegeya/AFP via Getty Images

The drone startup Zipline announced this week that it is planning to deliver COVID-19 vaccines wherever it operates — including in the U.S.

Why it matters: Aerial drones could be a useful solution to the challenge of getting vaccines to people in sparsely populated rural areas, while laying the groundwork for a new era of drone delivery.

Driving the news: On Wednesday Nigeria's Kaduna state signed a deal with Zipline to allow drone delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • That agreement was followed by Zipline's announcement on Thursday that it was building a delivery solution that would allow the company to safely deliver all leading COVID-19 vaccines in all of the countries in which it operates.
  • That plan includes working with what the company says is a major vaccine manufacturer to build end-to-end cold chain distribution, which is necessary for vaccines like those from Pfizer.

By the numbers: Zipline, which launched in 2014 as a way to micro-deliver medical supplies in countries like Ghana that lacked an effective road distribution network, has already delivered more than 1 million doses of other vaccines in Africa over the past year.

  • Though its focus has been in Africa, Zipline signed a deal last May to distribute COVID-19 medical supplies in the United States. CEO Keller Rinaudo told CNBC that "more than 100 million people in America — in both rural and urban areas — live in pharmacy deserts" and could benefit from drone delivery.

What they're saying: "We're really not a Silicon Valley tech company anymore," says Matt Fay, data team lead at Zipline. "We're really a logistics company that is operating in Ghana, in Rwanda, in the United States."

  • To that end, Fay notes, each Zipline flight collects hundreds of megabytes of data to make distribution "as efficient as possible and as reliable as possible. We treat it as one machine that can take in orders and integrate into the local health care system."

The bottom line: Drone delivery is likely to be one more trend that the pandemic accelerates.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Feb 5, 2021 - Sports

First look: NFL tells Biden all stadiums ready as vaccination sites

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at a press conference in Tampa on Thursday. Photo: Perry Knotts/NFL via Reuters

On the eve of Super Bowl weekend, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote President Biden to tell him that each of the league's 32 teams "will make its stadium available for mass vaccinations of the general public."

Driving the news: Goodell wrote in the letter, dated Thursday, that this can be done swiftly "because many of our clubs have offered their facilities previously as COVID testing centers as well as election sites over the past several months."

Why some Republican governors oppose anti-trans bills

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Chistopher Goodney (Bloomberg), Drew Angerer, Stephen Yang/Getty Images

Some Republican governors have found themselves at odds with their own party over a record number of bills targeting transgender children.

Why it matters: Social conservatives see a winning issue in bills to restrict trans students' participation in sports and access to health care, but the sudden push has met resistance even from some staunch conservatives.