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Nation likely to face COVID-19 vaccines storage issue



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By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, July 13: Nepal can store up to 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in eight vaccine storage centres across the country, which currently, is neck and neck to the storage capacity.

If it exceeds the 5 million mark then might pose a storage problem in the country.

The volume of the doses determines the holding capacity of the COVID-19 vaccine in the storage centres. Vero Cell vaccine has a 29.5 cubic centimetre per dose volume and a Johnson and Johnson vaccine with a 2.7 cubic centimetre per dose.

According to Bade Babu Thapa, Senior Pharmacist of the supply management branch under the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the eight vaccine storage centres, which on average are around 4000 litres, can store up to 5 million doses in the country.

He said that 3 million of Vero Cell vaccine and 1.5 million of Johnson and Johnson vaccine can be currently stored, however, it will be difficult to store more than that. Therefore, starting an early vaccination campaign would be the best resort.

“Because of the high volume of the Vero Cell vaccine, a small amount of vaccine takes up a lot of space. Therefore, the vaccine has been sent to Pokhara, Hetauda and Butwal. If the store is not vacated at the centre, there will be problems in keeping Johnson & Johnson or other incoming vaccines,” said Senior Pharmacist, Thapa.

According to the management department, a storage capacity at Teku storage has 7,500 litres and 3,750 litres at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. The cold room has a storage capacity of 2,873,560 doses in one and 1,341,000 doses in the other.

Similarly, the three cold rooms in Biratnagar with a capacity of 2,250 litres. It has a storage capacity of 862,000 doses of the vaccine.

There are three vaccine stores in Pathalaiya, Bara. Two of them have a storage capacity of 3,750 litres. It has a storage capacity of 1.436 million doses.

The third room with a capacity of 7,500 litres has a storage capacity of 2,873,500 doses of vaccine. This covers the vaccine need of  Biratnagar, Hetauda and Province 2.

In the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 that was started in Nepal on January 28, 26, 11, 807 people have been vaccinated in the first dose and 10, 1,757 people have received a full dose.