Belize City, Belize, September 24, 2021 (PAHO/WHO) – To support the national deployment of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) donated an ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezer to the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW). Additionally, IT equipment and supplies were also donated to boost passive and active surveillance for Events Supposedly Attributable to Vaccination and Immunization (ESAVI) and Adverse Events of Special Interest (AESI).
“The donation of this ULT freezer will help to boost the vaccine cold chain capacity for the country, particularly in storing the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Noreen Jack, PAHO/WHO Representative in Belize. “The mass vaccination campaign for the country is underway and the ULT freezer will be an integral part of keeping our vaccines stored at the optimal temperature to ensure citizens receive safe and effective vaccines.”
This special type of freezer will help the MOHW properly store COVID-19 vaccines and other types of medicines developed using mRNA technology. This is especially important because mRNA is naturally an unstable molecule that is prone to break down when exposed to temperature fluctuations. Hence, investing in an ultra-low temperature freezer for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration is integral to national vaccine deployment.
Apart from the freezer, IT equipment and supplies were purchased to strengthen the country’s capacity to conduct surveillance of adverse events following immunization. Due to the vast increase in COVID-19 vaccine administration, on both global and national scales, it is imperative to promote safe vaccines and safe vaccination procedures which will ultimately decrease health risks. Monitoring the effects of the vaccines on the population will help prevent unnecessary health risks while maintaining trust in vaccination.
The office supplies and items included, amongst other miscellaneous stationary items, for use by the ESAVI Situation Room at the Ministry of Health and Wellness:
- 1 Laptop computer
- 1 Monitor with HDMI Port
- 1 Tablet with SIM
- 1 Printer with wireless multifunction and cartridges
- 1 Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) or battery backup1 Microsoft Office Subscription License for a year
- Office supplies and stationary items
PAHO/WHO Belize continues to support the country and the Ministry of Health and Wellness through technical support and procurement of essential items to continue the fight against this global pandemic.