While thousands of Americans look forward to the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, it just boils down to one pressing question: do medical facilities have enough freezers to store them?
With healthcare facilities such as pharmacies, clinics and hospitals turning into vaccination sites, very few of them have deep or ultra-low freezers to facilitate storage. This is creating a mad rush and the public-health and logistics industry is working hard to devise a cold storage chain that can facilitate the delivery of vaccines without losing their integrity and effectiveness.
Vaccine Storage Equipment
When it comes to vaccines, their storage requirements are similar to that of dairy and meat variants, such as ice creams and steaks in marts. They need a particular temperature range for storage. The ultra low temperature retains its chemical structure.
The drug industry seems to have lots of information when it comes to knowing the ideal temperature range to store vaccines for chickenpox as well as shingles. However, when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, researchers lack the data as clinical trials with respect to storage requirements are still in progress.
The reason that deep freezers are turning into a hot commodity is that vaccines are the only key to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. And, as these vaccines start making their way into the markets, a terrible cold-storage shortage is set to come up. As clinical trials and testing approach phase 3, pharmaceutical companies expect to distribute vaccines to different vaccination sites by the end of 2020 or as 2021 commences. Considering that the time of distribution is fast approaching, many clinical facilities have yet to make the necessary arrangements to store the vaccines when they arrive.
The two largest pharmaceutical companies in the vaccination race, have worked towards vaccines bearing special technology, which they call mRNA. It is a gene-based technology that requires storing the vaccine shots at ultra-low temperatures. To make this possible, medical sites need to be well-equipped in terms of deep freezers or, to put it exactly, ultra-low freezers.
However, ultra-low freezers are not really a common sight in healthcare facilities as most medications and vaccines don’t as such need them. While chickenpox vaccines are stored in the freezer, flu vaccines require simple refrigeration.
With COVID-19 vaccines, it is important to acquire deep freeze facilities in order to maintain its effectiveness. After all, the vaccine already comes with a short shelf life, regardless of meeting ultra low-temperature requirements. In fact, they must be utilized within six months.
It is important to have the right facility in terms of storage for COVID-19 vaccines. These preparations will determine the course of distribution.
A lack of deep or ultra low freezer will mean that the access to these vaccines shall vary from country to country. This is because experts intend to target countries based on appropriate storage facilities when it comes to vaccine distribution.