Every child should receive routine vaccinations, even in times of war. To ensure high-quality storage of vaccines in Ukraine, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has purchased 26 refrigerated chambers, which were sent to 20 Ukrainian regions, including central state warehouses.
In February, the first two refrigerated chambers were installed in Lviv and Khmelnytsky regions, making it possible to store vaccines for nearly 700,000 children. The remaining chambers will be installed during the first half of 2023.
“Even during the war, Ukraine did not stop the vaccination campaign for a single day. The cold chain system has proven its capability and effectiveness during attacks on the country’s critical infrastructure. Therefore, it is extremely important to constantly strengthen the system so that Ukrainians have access to vaccines and are confident in their safety. I am grateful to the partners who continue to support the healthcare system for their strong assistance to Ukraine,” emphasized Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko.
The refrigerators have been prequalified by WHO and meet international standards for storing various vaccines at temperatures ranging from +2 °C to +8 °C. They are also equipped with an innovative energy-saving cooling system and remote temperature monitoring.
According to Murat Shahin, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine, the goal is to protect children in Ukraine from vaccine-preventable diseases. A cold chain system that meets international standards is essential to maintain the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Strengthening the immunization infrastructure helps to achieve high-quality storage of vaccines for Ukrainian children and women. Thanks to COVAX initiative this critical request has been met.
The purchase of the refrigeration equipment was made possible thanks to generous contributions and long-term support from the COVAX initiative. In line with its partnership arrangements with the Government, UNICEF continues to strengthen vaccine storage infrastructure, increase staff capacity, and enhance the effectiveness of vaccine and cold chain management systems in Ukraine.
In 2022, with donor support, UNICEF will strengthen the national cold chain system at all levels, from national and regional warehouses to vaccination sites. These measures will ensure access to vaccines for more than 15 million people in 23 regions of Ukraine.