The announcement of the high efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and the rapid advancement of human trials of other projects have accelerated the implementation of machinery in the countries to organize their storage and distribution once, as expected, they receive approval for use in the population.
However, the deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, has warned that no health system in the world is currently prepared to meet the storage and transportation needs of the cold chain that require some of the vaccines that are in phase 3 of clinical trials.
The need to “prepare”
Barbosa made reference to the two vaccines that use the technology “to use genetic material of the virus”, among which is that of Pfizer, highlighting that no other vaccine used in the world shares this unique characteristic. “No health system in the Caribbean, in South America, in the United States and in Europe is ready to handle these vaccines because for this it is necessary to have storage at -70ºC”, he pointed.
For this reason, the PAHO executive stressed the urgent need to plan taking into account the special characteristics of these vaccines. “If countries are going to use these vaccines they will have to prepare”, stated Barbosa, who clarified that “the other eight vaccines that are in phase 3 can be managed in the cold chains that we find today in any country.”
Investment in storage and transportation
The deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) assured that governments around the world will need make changes to cold chains or even have new warehouses to be able to use these two vaccines that use genetic material from the virus, according to the Europa Press agency.
However, the director of PAHO, an organization affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO), specified that These vaccines can be stored at a temperature between 2ºC and 8ºC for a period of up to five days once they are in the vaccination rooms. “The problem is going to be in the central warehouses and in transport and there must be an investment, but this is a challenge for everyone since for the first time we are going to have vaccines with these characteristics available, “said Barbosa.