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Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at Zabeel Primary Health Centre in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi-led initiative delivers 65 ultra-cold freezers, enabling over 20 African nations to scale immunisation programmes using vaccines requiring ultra-cold storage.

The Abu Dhabi-led initiative, HOPE Consortium, and UNICEF have entered into an agreement to support delivery of 65 ultra-cold freezers to Africa.

The freezers are necessary for COVID-19 vaccines requiring ultra-cold storage and to enable African nations to efficiently absorb incoming vaccine supplies recently donated by the United States of America.

The delivery stands as a testament to the HOPE Consortium’s commitment to contribute to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilitated by HOPE Consortium partners and other logistics providers, the shipment will reach 21 African nations, including Benin, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Eswatini, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Sao Tome, and Zambia.

“The UAE remains committed to doing our part to mitigate the effects of the pandemic by helping countries overcome the logistical and technical challenges associated with the delivery of large-scale vaccination programmes. Our partnership with UNICEF plays a vital role in helping implement an effective global response to COVID-19, particularly within Africa. We are proud to support international efforts such as COVAX by dedicating the unique services of the HOPE Consortium," said Sultan Mohammed Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Development Affairs, UAE.

The COVAX mission seeks to ensure that vaccine supplies are equitably distributed to the world’s populatiThe COVAX mission seeks to ensure that vaccine supplies are equitably distributed to the world’s population. However, many nations face logistical limitations in their capacity to receive and safely store the temperature- sensitive vaccine supplies. To that end, the 65 ultra-cold freezers are a necessary preparatory strategy to enhance cold chain capabilities within recipient countries in anticipation of incoming deliveries of vaccines requiring storage at ultra-cold temperatures.

The HOPE Consortium, along with its partners, has developed one of the most extensive end-to-end vaccine supply chains, capable of delivering millions of vaccines from the point of manufacture to the point of immunisation in support of its global efforts against the pandemic.

In addition, it has developed a vaccine hub in Abu Dhabi that can accommodate over 120 million vaccines at temperatures of +8 °C to -30 °C at any time, and hosts the UAE’s largest ‘Freezer Farm,’ which can store over 11 million vaccine doses requiring the ultra-cold temperature of -70 °C. This is a major area of expertise where the HOPE Consortium brings together global leaders in logistics, technology, and supply chains.