BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
THE AstraZeneca vaccines are well preserved at the national medical store, ready to be distributed from administration.
This was confirmed by Dr Ibrahim Dadari, programme officer UNICEF, during a covid-19 radio talkback show.
Temperature is a critical factor to storing vaccine. And, AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored in temperatures between eight and two degrees Celsius for about six months.
Dadari assures that the vaccines are stored in recommended temperatures to ensure the vaccine remains safe for human use.
“The vaccines preserved in a special box storage, with ice pack to maintain temperature as per standard UNICEF requirement the vaccines were immediately shipped to the national medical store where we have a big fridge called the working cool room so vaccines were immediately offloaded.
“All the processes on how this vaccine was handled was documented and expected inspections was conducted on site and was communicated to UNICEF. The documentation inspection process was well observed and resulted with everything ticked, so we are fine to go,” said Dadari.
In terms of how vaccines are going to getting out of the medical store to the field, they have standard WHO pre-approved freezers to store vaccines and standby cool boxes and vaccine carriers which are also meant to store vaccines.
He adds that these specialised boxes have temperature monitoring devices installed in each.
“Our health workers are being trained to look at these things so, they will be taking temperatures twice daily morning and evening to make sure that vaccine is maintain at two to eight degree. These is part of the safety measures to maintain what is called vaccine potential.”
He said for vaccine deployment to borders, health authority will use WHO pre-qualified freezers to store vaccines where they will be kept properly at Taro in Choiseul Province, at Nila in Western Province and also in Malaita Outer Islands.
“So, all measures are in place to ensure these vaccines remain potential and safe for all of us. If there is any breach, we will make sure it is addressed immediately,” he said.