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Kenya receives 12 ultra-cold freezers to boost vaccine storage

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy BETTY NJERU | Tue,Sep 07 2021 13:03:46 EAT
By BETTY NJERU | Tue,Sep 07 2021 13:03:46 EAT


Health CS Mutahi Kagwe. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Kenya has received twelve ultra-low temperature freezers of up to -80 degrees from Japan, to help boost vaccine storage and efficacy.

The freezers have a three million vaccine storage capacity and will be used to store Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

According to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, the Moderna vaccine doses require to be transported and stored at -20 degrees, J&J is stored at +2 to +8 degrees, while Pfizer needs to be transported at -70 degrees.

Covid 19 Time Series


“During transportation from the central regional stores, these vaccines require to be transported at -70 degrees,” Kagwe said, speaking at the handover at Afya House, Nairobi.

Fifteen donated soft boxes will enable transportation of the vaccines to the regional stores.

The vaccines have to be used within 28 days after they are removed from the frozen storage.

“We will make sure that these vaccines are administered as soon as possible to avoid potency,” the CS noted.

The national vaccine store in Kenya has a total of eight cold rooms.

Three freezers will be placed at the central vaccine store in Kitengela, Kajiado County while the others will be distributed to nine regional stores in Nairobi, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri, Meru and Kakamega counties. Garissa County will also receive a specialised deep freezer.

Japan Ambassador to Kenya Horie Ryoichi reiterated that the vaccines require proper storage facility and good management system are critical for vaccines.

National Vaccine Taskforce Chair Dr Willis Akhwale stated that all the vaccines coming into the country are safe.

“We will ensure that vaccines are safe. We cannot bring expired vaccines or vaccines that can expire soon. We have refused to take vaccines which have a near expiry date,” Akhwale said.

At a glance

Different vaccines require different temperatures.

Moderna vaccine must be stored at -20 degrees Celsius, while for Pfizer, that temperature drops to -70 C.

Both require an additional investment in ultra-cold storage boxes which typically cost between $10,000 (Sh1,101,000) and Sh2,202,000.

So far, 2,870,392 vaccines have been administered, and only 814,000 people have been fully vaccinated, translating to 3 per cent of the adult population.


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