This helps maintain temperature standards, regardless of continuity of electricity supply.
Primary health care centers in Konanakunte and Yelachenahalli in Bangalore south are using uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units and generators, to maintain the optimum temperature of the Ice – lined refrigerators (ILRs) and Deep Freezers.
A pharmacist, Bhuvneshwari at PHC Konanakunte said she has two ILRs and one deep freezer at their PHC to store ice packs which are used in transportation of vaccines. In their cold storage, the capacity of ILRs is 134 liters and that of deep freezers is 94 liters. The optimum temperature to store Covaxin and Covishield is 2-to-8-degree Celsius in ILRs.
Public relations officer Mayur Gowda, speaking on behalf of Minister of Health and Family welfare Dr.K Sudhakar regarding storage of vaccines explained that, “The main challenge throughout the cold chain of a vaccine is maintaining it at the optimum temperature, from the time of manufacturing until it is administered.” He added that variation in temperatures could impact the efficacy of the vaccines, so all district hospitals, medical colleges, taluk hospitals, community health centers (CHC) and primary health centers (PHC) are required to maintain it.
Bhuvneshwari said that they have three UPS units, two for ILRs and one for deep freezer. However, Elena Grace from Yelanchenahalii said that they only have one ILR and one deep freezer with two UPS each because they have less space.
Gowda said that ice-lined refrigerators have a capacity of 50 to 200 liters. Each liter can store up to 287 doses.
He added that they previously had 64 large ILRs (storage capacity of 225 liters each) provided by the Union government. He also said that they have received two additional walk-in coolers and a walk-in freezer from the Union government.
Apart from two primary storage facilities in Bengaluru and Belagavi from where vaccines are distributed to northern and southern districts, there are also five regional storage facilities in Chitradurga, Mangaluru, Mysuru, Kalaburagi and Bagalkote district, he said.
He added at all of the storage centers in Karnataka, the government has made arrangements for uninterrupted power supply to deal with electricity issues. He said the state government has also taken measures like having a contingency plan at the local level, where they are using generators as a backup to provide continuous flow of power.
Director of Bharat Biotech’s viral vaccines and international affairs Dr. G.V.J.A. Harshvardhan said, “Human vaccines for the prevention and control of bacterial and viral infections must be store or transported under manufacturer- specified cold temperature conditions to be effective when administered. prior to the act of vaccination, healthcare professionals should be aware of the temperature status indicated by the vaccine Vial Monitor (VVM) attached to the vaccine vial. In general, improperly stored vaccines should not be used for under any condition whatsoever.”