The Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines rely upon the seamless operation of a cold chain: the ultra-low freezer temperatures made possible by temperature-controlled planes, trucks and equipment such as data loggers. While challenging, this delivery system works in developed nations with quality roads and facilities such as regional airports.
But for remote communities with poor roads, unreliable electricity, high temperatures and no airports, frozen vaccines simply cannot be delivered, creating social equity concerns.
Cold-chain failures have been suggested as a reason Covid cases are surging in Seychelles, the world’s most-vaccinated nation. These means the vaccine is being delivered and administered, but it is effectively useless.
The COVAX Facility, which describes itself as “a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of eventual COVID-19 vaccines”, is seeking to remedy this situation. Its primary method is the promotion of vaccines that require lower temperatures (refrigeration rather than freezers) to improve access for remote communities.
Read more on equitable vaccines in this report from The Conversation.