Colin-on-Cars – Getting vaccines to where they are needed

The late DJ Brindley as my English teacher at school was a stickler for ‘expressions’ – of which, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ comes easily to mind.

This is precisely what Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation and B Medical Systems S.à put into practice in developing and having a vehicle with a dedicated refrigerator for transporting vaccines at the appropriate temperatures obtain Performance, Quality and Safety (PQS) prequalification for quality of medical devices and equipment as set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The company registered for the prequalification is Toyota Tsusho and this is the first refrigerated vehicle for vaccines in the world that has obtained PQS prequalification.

Vaccination is an effective measure against infectious diseases. General mandatory vaccines for infants usually require storage at 2°C to 8°C, and cannot be used if not stored under proper temperature management.

Although developing countries receive assistance from international agencies such as GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and UNICEF for the supply of vaccines, approximately 20% of the volume supplied (equivalent to JPY 40 billion per year) are disposed annually because they become unusable due to temperature changes during transportation when distributing to hospitals and clinics within the respective countries, as the road infrastructures are inadequate and there is no proper means for refrigerated transportation.

Each year, the lives of 1,5-million children are lost to vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) with insufficient effective utilisation of vaccines being one of the reasons.

The features of the refrigerated vehicle for vaccines which obtained PQS prequalification this time are as follows:

・ The base vehicle is Toyota Land Cruiser 78, which is equipped with the B Medical Systems’ CF850 vaccine refrigerator.

・ The refrigerator has a storage capacity of 396 liters, or 400 vaccine packages.

・ With its independent battery, the refrigerator can be operated for approximately 16 hours without a power supply.

・ The refrigerator can be charged by the vehicle while driving and from an external power source when parked.

Another expression – not taught by Mr Brindley – that comes to mind is ‘boer maak ‘n plan’.

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