Coronavirus Vaccine Storage Barriers Can Leave 3 Billion People Without It

From factory to syringe, the world’s most promising coronovirus vaccine candidates require nonstop sterile refrigeration to work.

But despite great efforts to equip developing countries to maintain the vaccine “cold chain”, nearly 3 billion of the world’s 7.8 billion people underwent inadequate temperatures for vaccination campaigns to bring COVID-19 under control. Live in places with controlled storage.

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Results: Poor people around the world are likely to emerge from the epidemic. The cold chain barrier is just the latest inequality of epidemics weighted against the poor, who more often live and work under conditions that allow the virus to spread and whose health systems are not equipped for large-scale testing.

Maintaining the cold chain for coronovirus vaccines will not be easy for the wealthiest of countries, especially when it comes to a handful of candidates who require temperatures around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 F). . Logistics experts say that much of Africa and most of Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Latin America lack the infrastructure to preserve traditional vaccines.

Outside the capital of Burkina Faso, a small medical clinic that has been in the refrigerator for almost a year without work, there is little knowledge of how cold chains can break.


The vaccine could not be kept in Gampella’s clinic when her fridge last fell, said nurse Julien Zongrana. Staff members use motorcycles to obtain vials from a hospital in the capital, Ouagadougou, and must make a second trip to return the unused dose.

When 24-year-old Adama Tapsoba needs to take her child for regular vaccinations, she takes four hours to reach the clinic and often waits hours for a doctor. The mother of two feels that it will be difficult for her family to get the coronovirus vaccine.

“People will have to wait in the hospital, and they can leave without receiving it,” she said.

To maintain cold chains in developing countries, international organizations have overseen the installation of thousands of solar-powered vaccine refrigerators. Reliable electricity, sound roads, and planning are also needed to protect temperature-sensitive vaccines from start to end.

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For poor countries such as Burkina Faso, the best chance of obtaining a supply of the coronavirus vaccine is the Kovacs initiative led by the World Health Organization and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance. The goal of Kovacs is to order for many promising candidates with the aim of distributing the successful ones evenly.

UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, began laying the foundation stone for global distribution in Copenhagen months ago. In the world’s largest humanitarian aid warehouse, logistics workers try to mitigate in part by learning from the past, particularly spring chaos masks and other protective gear that were locked in airport tarmacs or stolen for black-market trade .

Cracks in the cold chain begin when a vaccine leaves the factory. Cargo ships are too slow for vaccines with a limited shelf life. It costs too much to carry vaccines by air at cold temperatures, and air cargo traffic is only now being overturned by epidemic-related border detainees.

The German logistics company DHL, which has expanded its cold storage capacity in response to the epidemic, estimated that 15,000 cargo flights would be needed to fully vaccinate the world against coronaviruses.

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“We need to find a bridge for every gap in the cold chain,” said cold chain chief officer Kaza Busch.

Coronavirus vaccines will be one of the world’s most sought-after products, so theft is also a threat.

“They can’t be left on a tarmac and fight because they’ll really screw up and have no value – or worse, people are still trying to deliver them,” global head of cargo , Said Gillen Hughes. International Air Transport Association.

Researcher Tinglong Dai from Johns Hopkins University, who specializes in health care logistics, said that creativity would be needed to keep the cold chain intact, while coronovirus vaccines are scattered globally. Gavi and UNICEF have used drones to deliver vaccines. India’s largest cold storage company is setting a separate location for vaccines for food.

“If people can figure out how to transport ice cream, they can transport vaccines,” Dai said.

Multi-dose vials, which are equivalent to bulk storage of vaccines, reduce manufacturing and transportation costs. But if very few people show their jobs over time, then whatever is left in the vials should be discarded.

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For now, UNICEF is placing bets on 20-dose vials and expects that the wasted amount will be less than 15% for openers, according to Michelle Sidel, one of the agency’s cold chain experts.

UNICEF also expects 520 million syringes to be deployed pre-and where refrigeration needs are highest by the end of the year, “to ensure that these supplies reach countries by the time they are vaccinated,” Executive Director Henricetta he said.

If Burkina Faso is given 1 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine today, the country will not be able to handle it, Jean-Claude Mubalma, UNICEF’s head of health and nutrition for the West African country.

“If we were to vaccinate against coronovirus at this time, it would be impossible,” he said.

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