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UNICEF, ADB provides refrigerated vans to Bhutan for COVID-19 vaccination

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have handed over two refrigerated vans and essential medical supplies to Bhutan’s Ministry of Health

Mar 03, 2021
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The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have handed over two refrigerated vans and essential medical supplies to Bhutan’s Ministry of Health. The vans will support the government’s preparedness in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine.

They will be used to support the cold chain system-links designed to keep vaccines within World Health Organisation (WHO)-recommended temperature ranges for the COVID-19 vaccines, which the health ministry expects to roll out later this month.

The vans were among the first set of medical supplies UNICEF had procured as part of ADB’s technical assistance in the preparation of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, said a joint statement issued by them. 

ADB will also support in delivering eight walk-in coolers, a walk-in freezer, two bio-medical repair vans, and two ultra-cold rooms, according to Kuensel newspaper. 

ADB’s officer-in-charge, Atsushi Kaneko, said: “Bhutan has managed the COVID-19 pandemic in an exemplary way and ADB is fully committed to supporting Bhutan’s financial and human resources to ensure a coordinated and effective response.” 

Bhutan is listed among the first 18 countries to receive Pfizer vaccines through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility. 

The joint press statement said that around 10,275 syringes of the vaccine are also expected to arrive soon.  A total of 5,850 doses of Pfizer and 108,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines have been allocated to Bhutan through the COVAX facility.  

“The facility plans to provide vaccines for up to 20 percent of the population.  A purchase order for 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, of the 108,000 has been placed,” added the statement. 

Bhutan’s UNICEF representative, Dr. Wills Parks, said: “UNICEF is leveraging its expertise in procuring Covid-19 vaccines, cold chain equipment, and other critical medical supplies and technical assistance to support the government’s vaccination plans.” 

The government will be rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines only after procuring around 1.2 million doses of vaccines to vaccinate the entire 533,000 eligible population in the country.

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