UPS Foundation donates Pfizer vaccine freezers to Malawi

United States (US)-based United Parcel Service (UPS) Foundation has donated ultra-cold chain equipment to support the Government of Malawi’s preparedness to receive, store, and distribute the Pfizer vaccine across the nation.

The 30 state-of-the-art portable freezers can each store up to 6, 000 vaccine doses, and maintain temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius.

Additionally, they are equipped with uninterrupted power supply and can be plugged into a cigarette lighter receptacle in a vehicle for transportation.

UPS has also donated 50 portable cold chain boxes with a capacity to carry up to 6,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine maintained at two-to-eight degrees Celsius for four to five days without electricity.

Service providers can carry these boxes to remote locations.

Speaking when he handed over the equipment at the Ministry of Health Headquarters in Lilongwe on Wednesday, the US Ambassador to Malawi, Robert Scott, said the donation represents a unique collaboration between interagency team from the Ministry of Health, the U.S. Commercial Service, CDC, USAID, and the UPS Foundation.

“This donation also represents the type of public-private partnership that both the U.S. and Malawi governments will continue to pursue in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

Scott commended the Malawi Government for expanding Covid-19 vaccine options available to Malawians, stressing that the decision demonstrates the government’s commitment to leave no tools unused in its effort to protect Malawi’s citizens and pursue the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister Kandodo Chiponda

“Today’s contribution of the ultra-cold chain equipment will prepare Malawi to receive the Pfizer vaccine and other approved vaccines that require ultra-cold chain. This will enable the Government of Malawi to safely receive, deploy, and minimize loss of the Pfizer vaccine and other public health solutions that will require ultra-cold chain storage in the future,” narrated Scott.

In her remarks, the Minister of Health and Population, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, said the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic has shown why the Government of Malawi must do everything it takes to guard against the ravages of the pandemic to protect lives, jobs, businesses, and the national economy.

Chiponda said there is increasing evidence that these interventions, vaccination against Covid-19 is a must-do despite the misinformation.

“In this third wave we have noticed that world over with Malawi included the majority of the people who have succumbed to Covid-19 happen to be those who never got vaccinated. In Malawi we can attest to the fact that the majority of those who got hospitalised and or lost lives were not vaccinated,” she explained.

The minister added that the Ministry of Health and its partners have resolved to implement the National Vaccine Deployment Plan by further strengthening management systems and making the vaccines available.

“As you recall, the United States Government donated 304,350 of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to Malawi through COVAX facility to improve availability of vaccines and contribute to increase in the number of fully vaccinated people. In their continued support, the U.S Government plans to donate an initial 372,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Malawi through COVAX by the end of this quarter.

“Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold chain infrastructure to maintain potency at temperatures not above minus 80 degrees Celsius. Currently Malawi does not have these storage facilities. It is against this background the U.S Government through the United Parcel Service (UPS) Foundation is donating ultra-cold chain equipment and other cold chain pieces of apparatus necessary to receive, store and distribute the Pfizer vaccines in Malawi,” said Chiponda.

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