Gov’t seeks to procure cold storage trucks in rollout of COVID-19 vaccine
The government has issued tenders for the procurement of cold storage trucks in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, once it is made available to Guyana.
Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday revealed that this will allow the vaccines to be transported effectively.
“Among the tenders that we have is to get cold storage trucks because a lot of places we can get there by roads and these cold storage trucks can easily transport the vaccines at the right temperature,” the Health Minister said.
United States (US) drug company, Moderna announced an experimental vaccine against COVID-19, the mRNA-1273 from Biotech, which has shown a 94.5 per cent effectiveness. This vaccine can be stored in a standard refrigerator with temperatures of two to eight degrees Celsius (36 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 days.
However, the Pfizer vaccine, which has been approved for use in the UK, United States, Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, has to be stored at very cold temperatures of minus 70 to 80 degrees. But Guyana’s current cold storage capacity is at minus 20 degrees. As such, the Health Minister said the government is seeking to procure minus 70 degrees freezers.
A major concern for the government at this time is that a lot of countries are going after the minus 70 degree freezers and it is expected that there will be global shortage.
“There is a lot of work to be done and all of this is being put into a manual and we have started to identify people in various regions that will be trained and we will roll out this training with everybody, so that they are quite aware of what they need to do and how they can do it,” the Minister explained.
Persons will also be issued a vaccination card once they receive the vaccine as proof that they have been immunised. It was further revealed that by mid- January 2021, the Upper Floor Cold Storage Vaccine Bond at Kingston, Georgetown should be completed.
Regional storage facilities will be retrofitted to house the COVID-19 vaccines.