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Increasing vaccines storage capacity: DoHS


Nepalnews
2021 Aug 25, 17:55, Kathmandu
This image shows the building of the Ministry of Health and population in Kathmandu, in May 2017. Photo courtesy: Saif Ur Rab

The Department of Health Services is going to increase the vaccine storage capacity.

The supply management branch of the department has stated that the storage capacity is being increased as more moisture is required for Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Branch Chief Upendra Dhungana said that the storage capacity of 19 walking coolers for keeping the vaccine at normal temperature- 'Ultra Cool Chain' and 'Super Cool Chain' for storing more moisture has been increased.

A total of 52.2 million vaccines are being prepared to be administered to all targeted groups in Nepal. Of them, 12 million vaccines have arrived in Nepal so far.

"Modern and Pfizer vaccines need to be kept in a higher humidity, so the vaccines will be stored at the required temperature." he said. He added that the storage capacity for the vaccines will be expanded by October.

Modern needs 15 to 25 degrees Celsius and Pfizer needs 70 to 80 degrees.

Dr Shyam Raj Upreti, coordinator of the Covid-19 Vaccine Expert Advisory Group, said that the storage capacity for normal temperature is in Nepal but it is being developed as there is no storage capacity for the vaccine to be kept in extreme cold. "The Pfizer vaccine can be kept at a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Celsius for 6 months. After that, it can be kept at 15 to 25 degree Celsius for two weeks and kept at 2 to 8 degree Celsius for one month," he explains.

He said that modern and Pfizer vaccines can be imported from outside and stored only in Kathmandu. "Arrangements should be made to store the two vaccines only here," he said. "Preparations are being made to store the two vaccines at the same temperature." he adds.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be imported from United States.

The Pfizer vaccine will be given to children in the age group of 12 to 18 years. The government is preparing to bring 4 million Moderna and 6 million Pfizer vaccines in January.

The current Verocell and Covishield vaccines require a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius. He said that so far only Verocell and Covishield vaccines could be stored and kept at the same temperature.

The head of the supply branch, Dhungana, said that the Verocell vaccine occupies more space for storage than the Covishield, as it has been bigger packaging and takes up a lot of space.

The government is preparing to bring 12 million vaccines by the end of September and 32.3 million vaccines by next April.

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