British Virgin Islands

Thursday, Jan 28, 2021

Does BVI have storage space, equipment for promised vaccines?

Does BVI have storage space, equipment for promised vaccines?

As the UK continues to administer COVID-19 vaccines in its biggest-ever immunisation campaign, the BVI public is waiting to hear whether the government has secured storage space and equipment for the vaccines the UK has promised.
When the UK first promised to secure vaccines for its Overseas Territories, Premier Andrew Fahie requested information from the UK government to allow the BVI to adequately prepare a proper storage facility for the vaccine, ahead of arrival.

However, BVI News is still awaiting a response from the government on whether such storage space has been identified or whether it is even necessary.

The UK has not said which brand of vaccines will be given to BVI and other Overseas Territories. But so far, shots developed by US biotech company, Moderna, and another by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech are the leading ones.

The Moderna COVID shot can survive for six months at minus 20 degrees celsius — the temperature of a standard domestic freezer.

But the vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, which the UK started administering yesterday, must be stored at minus 70C. This means special freezers are required.

A report from the Financial Times has said: “Demand for ultra-cold storage freezers has spiked as governments and manufacturers prepare to ship Covid-19 vaccines around the world.”

In the meantime, 91-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer Covid-19 jab outside of a clinical trial.

According to a BBC report, Keenan said the shot is a “best early birthday present”.

The UK expects to dispense some “800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks while some four million more are expected by the end of the month,” the BBC reported.

Hubs in the UK are starting the rollout by vaccinating the over-80 age groups and some health and care staff.

Those most vulnerable — senior citizens and healthcare workers — are presently being prioritised by the UK government.

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