Following the news that Nigeria will be receiving 100,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of January, the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has disclosed thats there are not enough freezers to store the doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine when they are delivered.
During an interview with The Punch, Babatunde Salami, the director-general of NIMR, said while there are freezers in the country suitable for storing the vaccines, they are currently occupied with other medical supplies that require low-temperature storage. Salako said even if adjustments are made, the facilities would only be able to contain a few thousands of the vaccine.
The NIMR boss suggested that the Federal government should consider procuring other vaccine brands like Oxford/AstraZeneca which can be stored at higher temperatures.
“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 explained.