Thus, if we send the doses to various cities and districts, they will only last two weeks.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry has initiated the development of a national vaccine cold chain logistics infrastructure to allow for storage of vaccines at a temperature of up to minus 80 degrees Celsius, in collaboration with UNICEF.

"We have received 1.5 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccines through business-to-business collaboration. However, this kind of vaccine requires a different cold chain distribution channel," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said while attending a meeting with Commission IX of the Indonesian House of Representatives here on Wednesday.

“We received the vaccines at a temperature of minus 80 degrees Celsius. In such conditions, the vaccines can be stored for six months. However, our current regional cold chain logistics infrastructure only manages to reach minus 25 degrees Celsius. Thus, if we send the doses to various cities and districts, they will only last two weeks," he explained.

The next step is to transfer vaccines to special boxes that can maintain a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, he informed. The boxes have been widely used during the vaccination process at healthcare facilities, he said. The doses would have a shelf life of four weeks when stored in the boxes, he added.

"Thus, as long as it is certain that the vaccines will be injected within six weeks, we still can use the existing cold chain logistics channel," Sadikin noted.

Related news: Japan, UNICEF to help strengthen Indonesia's vaccine cold chain

Hence, the government has decided to buy 55 units of special storage devices that can reach a temperature of minus 80 degrees Celsius through UNICEF to strengthen the national cold chain logistics distribution channel, he said.

As an international organization that provides humanitarian assistance and supports long-term children’s welfare development, UNICEF has distributed billions of vaccines annually for children's vaccination programs all around the world, the minister added.

"We will buy the devices directly through the organization because they are offering a cheaper price and faster availability of the products. We will distribute the storage units to all 34 provincial capitals to become cold chain logistics hubs for vaccines that need to be stored at up to minus 80 degrees Celsius," Sadikin informed.

The ministry had also lobbied the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (COVAX-GAVI) to be granted 17 cold chain storage units. The devices are expected to arrive next week.

"We will temporarily place them at the Health Ministry and PT Bio Farma (Persero) before disbursing them to the regions," the ministry informed.

Related news: Cold chain preparation for COVID-19 vaccines 97% complete

Translator: Andi Firdaus, Uyu Liman
Editor: Suharto
Copyright © ANTARA 2021