Guyana’s gets five freezers from U.S to boost vaccine storage capacity

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Guyana’s vaccine storage capacity has been boosted with the donation of five ultra-cold temperature vaccine storage freezers, worth US$72,000 (or GY $14 million).

The freezers were donated to the Guyana Government by the United States (US) Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Program and were handed over during a simple handing over ceremony at the Ministry of Health’s Drug Bond in Kingston, Georgetown on Monday.

Chargé d’ affaires at the US Embassy in Georgetown, Mark Cullinane said, “these freezers will help ensure that COVID-19 vaccines will be stored according to safety protocols, while also building the capacity of Guyana’s health system.”

Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony (second right) with Chargé d’ affaires at the US Embassy in Georgetown, Mark Cullinane at the handing over ceremony of the freezers on Monday (Photo: News Room/ May 24, 2021)

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony highlighted that one of the more important aspects in managing vaccination is an adequate cold storage system.

As such, these freezers, the Minister explained, will allow Guyana to properly store its COVID-19 vaccines that require cold and ultra-cold storage.

When asked by the News Room whether the country was expecting COVID-19 vaccines that require ultra-cold storage, such as the Pfizer vaccines, the Minister said, “we have prepared for the entire spectrum of vaccines that are available.”

He, however, related that these freezers can be repurposed to store vaccines that require a -20 degrees storage temperature, such as the Russian Sputnik V vaccine which is currently being used across Guyana.

The Health Minister also noted that local health authorities will now assess whether these freezers are needed in specific regions but he also reminded members of the media that the Health Ministry had already built capacity for vaccine storage in several regions.

It was noted that this donation, added to the 62,400 vaccines that Guyana has received through the COVAX Facility, to which the U.S is the leading donor at US$4 billion.

Previously, the Department of Defense donated more than $150,000 USD worth of locally procured, personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, through its Humanitarian Assistance Program.

 

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