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USAID and UNICEF provided Ukraine with ultra-low temperature cold equipment for storing COVID-19 vaccines

24 December 2021

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has delivered 14 freezers for storing Pfizer vaccines at ultra-low temperatures to Ukraine.

Freezers can simultaneously store about 3 million doses of vaccines at ultra-low temperatures up to -86°C.

10 freezers will be installed at the national warehouse of the state enterprise “Ukrmedpostach” of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine in Kyiv. Four will travel to Kharkiv, Dnipro, Lviv and Odessa and ensure the safety of vaccines for these and neighboring regions.

“Our goal is to maximize the protection of Ukrainians from coronavirus disease. Vaccination remains the most effective way to protect against the severe course of COVID-19. We will do everything possible to ensure that vaccines are freely available to everyone who wants to get vaccinated. The arrival of freezers for storing vaccines will strengthen our ability to resist the pandemic,” said Health Minister Viktor Liashko.

“The fact that a new batch of US state aid to counter COVID-19 arrived in Ukraine today shows another way for the United States to further support Ukraine in the global fight against the pandemic, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and WHO. These 14 new ultra-low temperature freezers will increase the ability of the Ukrainian side to safely store vaccines that save lives, and are a continuation of our assistance provided through UNICEF that aims to provide refrigeration equipment to more than 3,100 vaccination points,” said James Hope, director of the USAID Mission in Ukraine.

“UNICEF continues to support Ukraine in updating the cold chain in order to increase the storage capacity of COVID-19 vaccines. We are grateful to USAID for making this very important progress possible. Assistance with ultra-low temperature freezers is all the more relevant because Ukraine expects large deliveries of mRNA vaccines at the end of 2021 and during 2022. Storage of vaccines under the necessary temperature conditions ensures that they will not lose their effectiveness and will provide people in Ukraine with the best protection against COVID-19. Once again, I want to hurry up everyone who has not yet vaccinated - do it as soon as possible,” said Murat Shahin, head of the UNICEF representative office in Ukraine.

In September 2021, UNICEF also delivered 3 ultra-low temperature freezers to Ukraine as part of COVAX assistance.

In October, UNICEF began delivering passive cooling equipment and temperature recorders for safe and efficient storage of vaccines during transportation at the primary care level and when used by mobile teams during vaccination sessions. The first batch of passive cooling equipment was purchased with financial support from USAID in the amount of USD 2.8 million.

To date, USAID has already allocated about USD 10 million to support vaccination in Ukraine and transferred almost 2.2 million COVID-19 vaccines to Ukraine directly under COVAX. The funds allocated by USAID also aim to support COVID vaccination communication, engage communities to increase vaccination adherence, and provide technical assistance and training to appropriate personnel on proper vaccination advice, logistics, and vaccine storage.

In total, since the beginning of COVID-19 in Ukraine, USAID has provided assistance in responding to the pandemic totaling more than USD 50 million.