You are invited to contribute to a new discussion on 'When should Ministries of Health use refrigerated vehicle to deliver vaccines?'.
Discussion co-moderated by James Cheyne and John Lloyd:
There are at least four good reasons for using refrigerated vehicles to replace the classic pickup trucks loaded with cold boxes:
- The number of vaccines used in national immunization programmes has roughly doubled over the past 20 years and the number of new vaccine introductions is likely to increasing at a similar rate over at the next ten years. Larger volumes of vaccines will need larger vehicles.
- Refrigerated vehicles with three or four times the carrying capacity cost about the same as a typical pickup truck including the cost of the cost boxes and ice packs.
- Refrigerated vehicles eliminate the need to freeze hundreds of ice packs for each trip. Furthermore, continuous temperature monitoring in refrigerated vehicles is likely to reduce the amount of vaccine frozen in transit
- Larger capacity vehicles are better adapted to make round trips to deliver vaccines to several remote stores, saving both fuel and time.
There are also at least four reasons for retaining pickup vehicles that deliver the vaccine in cold boxes and not investing in refrigerated vehicles:
- Existing delivery routes can continue to be used without the need for new route planning and new training for drivers and heath staff.
- Refrigerated vehicles can be difficult to maintain and spare parts for both the vehicle and the refrigeration unit are not always easy to source.
- Even with good maintenance and repair services available a backup refrigerated vehicle is needed to keep the deliveries moving when the first vehicle is being serviced or repaired after an accident.
- When not needed for vaccine deliveries pickup vehicles can be used more economically for non-vaccine deliveries.
The world is not this simple, though.
We would like your thoughts and opinions on when you think refrigerated vehicles can be more effective and also when pickup trucks with cold boxes on the back can be the better option.
Or, of course, we would like to hear of any other options you know about to delivering large volumes of vaccines simply and reliably.
Finally, if you are already using refrigerated vehicles, please have a look at WHO’s survey of refrigerated vehicles. The purpose of the survey is to gather information on the performance of refrigerated vehicles that are three years old or older: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PQSrefrigeratedvehicle
The information will be used to help PQS develop standards for refrigerated vehicle meet the needs and operating environments of immunization programmes. Your help will be extremely valuable to WHO PQS and the WHO Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI).
Best regards from John and James. We are both looking forward very much to debating your thoughts, ideas and suggestions. Many thanks.