25.Jan .2021 12:00

What does "cold chain" limitations mean for Georgia's vaccination process?

What does "cold chain" limitations mean for Georgia's vaccination process?
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The National Vaccination Strategy of COVID-19 reports, that Georgia will buy only 200,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this year due to the complications related to the "cold chain". According to the document, majority of Georgian citizens will be vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine.

The document reads, that Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine needs to be stored at minus 80 degrees Celsius and Moderna's vaccine requires storage at minus 20 degrees Celsius. This “cold chain” causes logistical difficulties, so the advantage will be given to AstraZeneca vaccine, which is stored at domestic fridge temperature (2-8 degrees C). The AstraZeneca COVID-vaccine will be shipped from Q2, before that citizens will be vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

"Due to logistical complications, the use of the Pfizer / BionTech vaccine, as well as Moderna, is mainly discussed in the first phase of the COVID-vaccine program. At the same time, the maximum volume of vaccine doses was determined which covers only 3% of the population”, the document reads.

According to the National Vaccination Strategy of COVID-19, health-care workers, nursing home residents, people over 75 and vulnerable groups will get the vaccine first.

“From Q2, Georgia will receive vaccines stored at 2-8 degrees C. Georgia's “cold chain” and other logistics systems are fully adapted, "- the National Vaccination Strategy of COVID-19 notes.

The Georgian government will consider vaccinating 60% of the population late in 2021.

The National Vaccination Strategy discusses 4 scenarios by which the vaccination process should take place in the country. Under all four scenarios, AstraZeneca is considered the main supplier of vaccines, while Pfizer and Moderna vaccines doses do not exceed 200,000.

Scenario 1: The country receives 200,000 doses of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, 1,484,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX platform, and the country imports additional volumes to cover 60% of the population over the age of 18. The country will import a total of 3,979,327 vaccine doses.

Scenario 2: The country imports 200,000 doses of Moderna vaccine, 1,484,400 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX platform, and additional vaccine doses for 60% of the adult population (a total of 3,979,327 vaccine doses).

Scenario 3: The country receives 200,000 doses of any vaccine, stored at 2-80 degrees Celsius, 1,484,400 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX platform, and an additional AstraZeneca vaccine from other sources (a total of 3,979,327 vaccine doses).

Scenario 4: The country imports only AstraZeneca vaccine to cover all risk groups in the country and additional population groups (a total of 3,979,327 vaccine doses).

A total of 3,979,327 doses are needed to cover 60% of the population. As of today, Georgia has guaranteed 1,484,400 doses of vaccine from the COVAX platform for 2021. However, financial resources have been estimated at 3,979,327 vaccine doses, assuming the country will import an additional 2,494,927 doses from alternative sources," the document said.

The price of each vaccine varies as follows:

1) AstraZeneca - price per dose from $ 3 to $ 7.5;
2) Pfizer / BioNtech - price per dose from $ 18.34 to $ 19.50;
3) Moderna - price per dose from $ 25 to $ 34.50.