COVID vaccines must be stored at 2-8 degrees C: minister

Jakarta Deputy chair of the COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee (KPC-PEN), Erick Thohir, has appealed to all regional leaders to store vaccines at 2-8 degrees Celsius to prevent their degradation.

“I appeal to all regional leaders to store the vaccine vials at 2-8 degrees Celsius. Please, do not fail to store the vaccine at the required temperature,” Thohir, who is concurrently the state-owned enterprises minister, said.

Failing to keep the vaccine vials at the desired temperature would degrade their quality, he told local journalists in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, on Thursday.

“Alhamdulillah (Thank God), I have just been given an opportunity to check Bio Farma’s 10 cold-storage units, which are storing the vaccine at 2-8 degrees Celsius,” he remarked.

Each of the state-owned pharmaceutical holding company’s cold-storage units can store eight million vials of the COVID-19 vaccine, he said, adding that Bio Farma also has four cold-storages that can store other vaccines at minus 20 degrees C.

To support the government’s national COVID-19 vaccination program, Bio Farma has been distributing three million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine to 34 provinces across Indonesia.

Bali province, for instance, has so far received 51 thousand vaccine vials, following the arrival of another 20 thousand vials of China’s Sinovac vaccine on Thursday.

Bali received the first batch of 31 thousand vaccine vials on Tuesday, head of the Bali provincial government’s health office, Ketut Suarjaya, said.

The vaccine packages are being stored in the Bali health office’s cold-storage rooms while officials await an appropriate time to distribute them to all districts and cities in Bali, Suarjaya said.

Bali will prioritize 30,320 frontline medical workers as well as the governor, provincial police chief and military commander, district heads, and city mayors in the vaccine program, he informed.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry revealed earlier that it would take 15 months to vaccinate about 181.5 million people under the national COVID-19 vaccination program.

“We need 15 months to accomplish it. The time-frame for conducting the vaccination is counted from January, 2021 to March, 2022,” the Health Ministry’s spokesperson for the vaccination program, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, stated on Sunday.

During the period, the government is targeting to inoculate about 181.5 million people, including 1.3 million paramedics and 17.4 million public sector workers in 34 provinces, she informed.

The first phase of the government’s immunization program will be divided into two periods — January-April, 2021 and April, 2021-March, 2022, according to Tarmizi. (INE)

Source: Antara News