Refrigerated vans to help in Covid-19 vaccination

It is not yet clear if it will benefit electricity consumers

Chhimi Dema 

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UNICEF handed over two refrigerated vans to the health ministry (MoH) yesterday.

The vans will be used to support the cold chain system–links designed to keep vaccines within WHO-recommended temperature ranges for the Covid-19 vaccines, which the ministry expects to roll out later this month, and regular immunisation programme.

Sowai Lyonpo (Health Minister) Dechen Wangmo said: “The support will enhance Bhutan’s effort to battle the pandemic. ADB and UNICEF have been instrumental partners to MoH always and we’re grateful to our development partners for all the assistance until now.”

The vans were among the first set of medical supplies UNICEF had procured as part of ADB’s technical assistance in the preparation of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, stated the joint press release from UNICEF and ADB.

ADB will also support in delivering eight walk-in coolers, a walk-in freezer, two bio-medical repair vans, and two ultra-cold rooms.

ADB’s officer-in-charge, Atsushi Kaneko, said: “Bhutan has managed the Covid-19 pandemic in an exemplary way and ADB is fully committed to supporting Bhutan’s financial and human resources to ensure a coordinated and effective response.”

Bhutan is listed among the first 18 countries to receive Pfizer vaccines through the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility.

A joint press release stated that around 10,275 syringes of the vaccine are also expected to arrive soon.  A total of 5,850 doses of Pfizer and 108,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines have been allocated to Bhutan through the COVAX facility.

“The facility plans to provide vaccines for up to 20 percent of the population.  Purchase order for 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, of the 108,000 has been placed,” stated the press release.

ADB’s officer-in-charge, Atsushi Kaneko, said: “Bhutan has managed the Covid-19 pandemic in an exemplary way and ADB is fully committed to supporting Bhutan’s financial and human resources to ensure a coordinated and effective response.”

Bhutan’s representative, Dr Wills Parks, said: “UNICEF is leveraging its expertise in procuring Covid-19 vaccines, cold chain equipment, and other critical medical supplies and technical assistance to support the government’s vaccination plans.”

The government will be rolling out the Covid-19 vaccines only after procuring around 1.2 million doses of vaccines to vaccinate the entire 533,000 eligible population in the country.

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