We don’t have enough freezers to hold the Pfizer vaccine – NIMR

The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) said there are not enough freezers to store the doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine when they are delivered.

In an interview with The Punch, the director-general of NIMR, Babatunde Salako noted that storing the vaccines is not just the problem, but transporting it to rural area and maintaining the required minus 70 degrees temperature suitable for keeping the vaccine.

He said; “Our facilities can hold Pfizer vaccines at -70 degrees but we don’t have enough of such freezers and the ones we have are even full at the moment. We even just got one that we have yet to install but how many samples can it even hold?

“Even if we rearrange things, I doubt if we can store more than a few hundred or thousands.

“There are many -80 freezers around in the research institutes and universities but the point is that many of them have samples inside them. So, even if we evacuate, I don’t think we will all be able to do more than a few thousands.

“The problem is not just about storing vaccines but moving it to the rural areas and maintaining that same temperature. For example, if you land in Lagos and you store it at -70 and it has to be transported over the creek somewhere, how do you move them? There are other ways but they will be very costly. They can store them with liquid nitrogen or even dry ice but it will cost a lot of money,” he said.

“But I think all the vaccines are now being deployed in many countries. So, we can do all of them rather than do just one considering the storage capacity for Pfizer. Even the government knows that we don’t have enough space but we can be taken in batches.” He said

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