The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu on Thursday handed over special vaccine storage fridges and freezers to the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
The USD 8 million vaccine storage facilities comprised 58 ultralow temperature vaccine freezers, 50 normal fridges, 3000 ice pack freezers and 300 cold boxes.
Also 18 distribution cold vans to support the distribution of vaccines are expected to arrive in the country as part of the consignment.
This is in line with the government’s efforts to widen Ghana’s vaccine storage capacity to access more vaccines and expand vaccination coverage to meet the national immunization target of 20 million people.
At a short handing over ceremony in Accra, the health minister said there were wide ranges of vaccines released to fight the virus and the storage facilities were required to meet the criteria to access them as each vaccine required a special storage condition and temperature.
The health minister said the provision of the freezers marked a major landmark in Ghana’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So far, we have been limited to the traditional vaccine storage facilities which are limited to temperatures from plus two degree Celsius to plus eight degree Celsius, which restricted us to vaccines that required these storage temperatures,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said with the number of countries depending on AstraZeneca, Sputnik V and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, it was difficult for Ghana to have adequate supply.
He said the fridges and freezers procured can provide storage temperatures form minus 83 degree Celsius to plus eight degree Celsius and will enable Ghana to import any of the COVID-19 vaccines available.
He said the freezers had a storage capacity of 800,000 doses of vaccines connected to a real-time monitoring system that allowed operators to keep track of temperatures and the performance of the freezers on their phones.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the freezers had ice liners that could maintain their set temperatures for at least 10 hours when power supply was disrupted.
The minister said the fridges and freezers would be distributed to all the regions to boost national immunization efforts in expectation of the arrival of Pfizer vaccines this month.