Equipped with first super-cold warehouse, Vietnam eligible for additional COVID-19 vaccine importation

Monday, 2021-02-22 17:49:08
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The three deep negative cold storage facilities in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi can store up to 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines at a time. In this picture, a cold storage unit at VNVC Hoang Van Thu Immunisation Centre, Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: MoH)
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NDO – For the first time in Vietnam, three cold storage units capable of temperatures of down to -80C have been licenced by the Ministry of Health (MoH), allowing Vietnam to import large quantities of COVID-19 vaccines which require stringent super cold storage conditions.

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The facilities belong to the Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC), including both the storage and transport systems for the vaccines and biologicals, with a storage capacity of up to 3 million doses at a time at temperatures ranging from -86 to -46C, making VNVC the first and only unit in Vietnam that can meet the requirements for the preservation of COVID-19 vaccines like those of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

There is a defrosting store at each warehouse with the temperature always controlled at below 8C to ensure that the vaccine is safely thawed before being put into use.

VNVC is also licenced by the MoH to export, import and provide services to preserve vaccines and biologicals in cold conditions at between 2-8C and in deep negative conditions (-46 to -86C).

With a network of 49 vaccination centres nationwide, each equipped with a separate vaccine warehouse, VNVC currently has a storage capacity of up to 170 million doses of vaccines at a time at 2-8C or down to -80C.

All of its cold storage systems are equipped with local and online temperature monitoring systems, with remote control and alarm systems linked via GSM. All warehouses are prepared with backup power supply plans to ensure the highest quality vaccines.

According to Tran Thi Trung Trinh, Quality Control Director of VNVC, her company will use six specialised refrigerated vehicles to transport vaccines from the airports to general warehouses, along with carrying out inter-centre vaccine transportation and a system of specialised storage tanks to transport vaccines within its vaccination centres. All of these facilities will be once again evaluated and assessed for satisfactory storage conditions before being put into use.

So far, VNVC is the first and only unit in Vietnam chosen by AstraZeneca (UK) to distribute the AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine in large quantities in Vietnam. It is expected that from the first half of 2021, VNVC will bring 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam.

Currently, the VNVC system’s service capacity is up to 100,000 customers per day and it is ready to increase capacity to serve up to 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines per month, said Bui Kim Khanh, VNVC’s National Director.