Namibia plans to construct COVID-19 vaccine storage facilities: minister

People wait for COVID-19 testing at a mobile facility in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, Aug. 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Jacobina Mouton)
People wait for COVID-19 testing at a mobile facility in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, Aug. 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Jacobina Mouton)

Namibia has set in motion plans to construct facilities that will be used to store COVID-19 vaccines which need to be stored in extremely cold conditions, Minister of Health Kalumbi Shangula told Xinhua in an interview on Monday.

Shangula said they are preparing for the challenge associated with storing possible vaccines in their medical facilities which were not tailor-made for such conditions.

“I can safely tell you that we never had any facilities that were tailor-made for COVID-19 but we are building from scratch as we go,” he said.

Shangula’s words came after revelations from companies in the United States and the United Kingdom that their vaccines are more than 90 percent effective and ready for distribution but can only be stored in very cold conditions which are between minus 20 to minus 80 degrees Celsius.

“I must admit that such conditions will create challenges specifically for African countries but we will do what we need to do to make sure that we invest in such facilities. In the interim we are in the pre-planning phase,” he said.