One hundred and seventy-four vaccine refrigerators funded Gavi, also known as the Vaccine Alliance, and procured through UNICEF have been transferred to Vietnam to help with the storage of vaccines, including COVID-19 jabs.
The vaccine refrigerators arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on May 30, UNICEF said in a press release on Tuesday.
They will be delivered to district-level health facilities in 23 provinces in the Central Highlands and southern regions of Vietnam where they will be used to store vaccines, including coronavirus shots.
The delivery is a part of ongoing support designed to further strengthen the country’s health system, in particular the Expanded Immunization Program, contributing on this occasion to ensuring that the cold chain for vaccine storage is in place nationwide, so that vaccines are stored safely at exactly the right temperature.
Gavi, a long-time global partner of UNICEF, works to create equal access to underused vaccines for children, especially those living in the world’s poorest countries.
In this pandemic era, it is a leading organization and a crucial pillar in the COVAX facility, raising funding for and supporting the creation, production, and equitable distribution of vaccines to the poorest countries.
“We do hope that this new set of cold chain equipment will contribute to the strengthening of the EPI program especially in regions where we observe a lower immunization coverage,” said Véronique maeva Fages from Gavi.
“This delivery comes at the right time to support the COVID-19 vaccine deployment efforts, noting that additional cold chain support is scheduled for later in the year, as part of dedicated COVAX funding.”
“UNICEF is delighted to join hands with Gavi beyond our shared commitment to the COVAX facility, on the provision of these fridges to the Expanded Immunization Program including the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Vietnam,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Vietnam representative.
“UNICEF has worked with the Ministry of Health to assess ‘cold chain’ capacity identifying where new fridges, freezers, refrigerator trucks, and cold boxes are needed for the safe transportation and storage of vaccines.
“This is important for the safe roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines as well as for the regular life-saving vaccines that are crucial for every child.”
This shipment brings the environmentally friendly vaccine refrigerator TCW 4000 AC, manufactured by B Medical in Luxembourg with green technology for very low power consumption, which can maintain cold conditions for jabs that must be stored at a temperature range of +2˚C to +8˚C, even when power failure occurs for up to eight hours.
The majority of vaccines managed by the Expanded Immunization Program require this temperature range, and with a storage capacity of 240L, the refrigerators are an important contribution to district-level health facilities.
This model is supplied with an integrated remote temperature monitoring device with real-time alert for the continuous monitoring of sensitive vaccines.
In case of a temperature deviation, it immediately sends a notification to the predefined person in charge.
The temperature status can also be monitored from distance through an online web portal.
Importation steps are being taken by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi.
“Over the coming period, UNICEF Vietnam will provide to Vietnam a range of vaccine-related products – from more than 2,200 refrigerators of different sizes to trucks and safety boxes, to tens of millions of syringes,” Flowers revealed.
“It is a crucial contribution and only one part of comprehensive support that UNICEF is providing as we join hands across Vietnam with the government, partners, and donors to end the pandemic in this country.”