New vaccine facility nears completion

Work being carried out on the government’s new vaccine storage facility. (Photo provided by the Ministry of Works)
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By Kadeem Joseph

[email protected]

Work to complete the country’s new vaccine storage facility is well advanced with the project slated for completion soon.

Minister of Health Sir Molwyn Joseph said he is not only pleased with the project, but the projections are that it would be completed by the end of January.

Joseph said the facility, which is located at the former US Base in Coolidge, “will be able to satisfy the needs of Antigua and Barbuda, not only for Covid vaccines, but for all vaccines that would be necessary… including those that are routinely given to babies and children”.

The subject of a new vaccine facility was spurred by the advent of Covid-19 and the prospect of storing large amounts of vaccines at a time.

Multiple, newly developed vaccines also require special sub-zero temperatures for storage, including the Pfizer vaccine which needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius, and the Moderna vaccine which must be stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius.

Minister Joseph assured that plans are already in place to store these vaccines as well.

“We do have a facility that we have secured at the Stem Cell facility that is available to us if we are desirous of importing the Pfizer vaccine,” he explained.

The health minister said that it is for this reason that Antigua and Barbuda is in a position to store any of the vaccines that will be made available.

Antigua and Barbuda has signed onto the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Covax facility which seeks to make vaccines available to lower income countries as they become available.

Health officials have projected that the twin island could begin receiving vaccine doses as early as this March or April.

The WHO has since approved the Pfizer vaccine, with others presently under review.

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