As COVID-19 vaccines are currently being distributed internationally, Nigeria has obtained the ultra-cold freezers needed to keep the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines when they eventually get the country.
A visit to the country’s vaccine storage facility was made on Tuesday. The result showed that there are three Ultra-cold freezers needed to store the doses of vaccines expected by the end of January.
Upon arrival, all the vaccines would be stored in the National Strategic Cold Store. It is located a few miles from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport. The vaccines would then be shared with the various zones and states across the country.
The Nigerian government said it will receive at least 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved COVID-19 vaccines by the end of January. This would be done through the COVAX co-financing public-private facility.
Fasai Shuaib, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, revealed that the country now has enough capacity to store the vaccines.
While addressing a journalist in the facility on Tuesday, Mr Shuaib stated that “Each of these ultra-cold freezers has 700 litres capacity, which is a total of 2,100 capacities. The requirement for the 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines that will be available by the end of January/February is 500 litres, so we have enough capacity for the 100,000 doses,”
Mr Shuaib explained that the ultra-cold chain storage was only needed at the national level and six zonal stores where the vaccines can be stored for a longer duration.
He went further to explain that the Pfizer vaccine can be kept for five days at plus two to eight degrees outside of the ultra-cold chain. This makes it suitable especially at less developed areas.
Mr Shuiab further stated that by the information was passed to them by Pfizer that the COVID-19 Vaccine can be stored for five days. It c=should be stored at plus two to eight degrees outside the ultra-cold chain. This is suitable especially at a low level.
“This means that the ultra-cold chain storage is only required at the national level and six zonal stores where the vaccines can be stored for a longer period. The vaccines would then will be transferred to lower levels using dry ices in isolated dry thermals when they are ready to be deployed.”
He said the federal government was doing it’s best while working hand in hand with states to make sure the vaccines are distributed efficiently while following the safety protocol throughout the country.