COVID-19 vaccine on the anvil! How pvt cold chains can pitch in to ensure vaccines are stored safely

The vaccines that are manufactured in India for the novel Coronavirus will be needing “extra cold” storages.

As the initial step for combating Coronavirus for a long term has been taken by development of Coronavirus vaccine, it is crucial that these vaccines are delivered safely for mass immunisation. However, the process can be challenging. Therefore, cold chain facilities are set up that ensures that the vaccines are kept safe before they are given to people. The World Health Organisation has defined it as a system that is used to store vaccines in good condition. Depending on the composition of the vaccine, they are kept at a particular temperature from the point of manufacture to the point of administration. Since the development has been done, India along with many other countries is gearing up to prepare for such facilities.

The vaccines that are manufactured in India for the novel Coronavirus will be needing “extra cold” storages. Notably, vaccines needing cold temperatures can be stored using refrigerators, cold boxes, water packs, foam packs and vaccine carriers.

Why do COVID-19 vaccines need cold chain supply?

According to the WHO, if not stored in cold temperatures, the vaccines may be damaged further reducing its effectiveness. The organization said, while storing, a set temperature has to be maintained throughout the time till it is administered to people.

In India, last week, the central government has asked all states and UTs to come up with a plan by the end of this week that will ensure cold supply for the Coronavirus vaccines. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in his address to people informed that the health ministry is expecting to receive as well as utilise around 400-500 million vaccine doses for the COVID-19 infection.

In a report by PTI, Satyajit Rath from National Institute of Immunology (NII) in New Delhi has noted that a majority of current vaccine front runners need extremely stringent cold chains and this is going to be quite challenging in India. Managing storage temperatures for some COVID-19 vaccines in India at a large scale cannot be simply done, said Rath. The report highlighted that vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer and Moderna will be needing proper standards for refrigeration which might hamper their distribution in India to millions of people. To be sure, all vaccines have to be transported at cold temperatures ranging between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.

-The central government in India has formed a panel that will be looking at vaccine administration. The main responsibility of this panel has been set to look after the stockpiling of all vaccines in India whenever they will be ready for distribution. Currently, the government’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) infrastructure will be used to vaccinate the priority groups. A report by The IE highlighted that private companies in India will also chip in for cold chain facilities since the government programme may not have enough capacity for all people in the country. Companies like Snowman Logistics, Gati Ltd, logistics player DHL, Biological E are likely to join hands with the government for smooth delivery and administration of vaccines.

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