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India faces cold chain logistics challenge for Covid-19 vaccination

The nation with the world's second-highest infections plans to use the existing cold chain network in place for its Universal Immunization Program

Vaccine
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The Pfizer shot needs to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of -70 degrees celsius and thawed and injected within five days

Archana Chaudhary and Ragini Saxena | Bloomberg
India hopes to start rolling out a Covid-19 vaccine by March 2021, but it faces a steep challenge: cold chain and distribution infrastructure.

The nation with the world’s second-highest infections plans to use the existing cold chain network in place for its Universal Immunization Program, said Rajesh Bhushan, secretary to India’s federal health ministry, in an email interview. But that infrastructure is geared to only immunize children and pregnant women -- vaccinating India’s 1.3 billion people will require its capacities to be significantly scaled up, experts say.

“The entire existing cold chain capacity is inadequate for existing vaccination programs,” said T. Sundararaman,

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First Published: Nov 24 2020 | 7:14 AM IST

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