COVID-19: Japan to provide USD 9.3 million aid to India to build cold chain system
The assistance, under Japan’s Emergency Grant Aid Scheme, will provide India with cold chain equipment including medical equipment such as cold storage facilities.
The Government of Japan announced on June 25, 2021, that it will provide USD 9.3 million worth of cold chain equipment and related assistance to India to help the country fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the assistance, under Japan’s Emergency Grant Aid Scheme, will provide India with cold chain equipment including medical equipment such as cold storage facilities.
It will be Japan’s ‘Last One Mile Support’ to ensure vaccination in each country, through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Objective of Japan’s Emergency Grant Aid Scheme:
Japan’s Emergency Grant aid aims at delivering the vaccines to each and every person in all the corners of the developing countries, which will complement the efforts of the COVAX facility.
According to the Foreign Ministry of Japan, to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines including in the developing countries, and accelerating the vaccination will be the common challenge for the international community.
Why cold chain facility is significant for vaccine storage?
Delivering vaccines to the corners of the world is a complex undertaking that takes a chain of precisely coordinated events in temperature-controlled environments to manage, store and transport these life-saving products. This is called Cold Chain.
Cold chains are significant as vaccines must be stored in a limited temperature range- from the time they are manufactured until the moment of vaccination. It is because the temperatures that are too high or too low can cause the vaccine to lose its potency (ability to protect against disease). Once it loses its potency, it cannot be restored or regained.
The same consistency of temperature is also required for all the available COVID-19 vaccines including Pfizer, COVAXIN, Moderna.
Japan’s contribution to COVAX:
Japan has led the operationalization of the COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access) facility as an international mechanism for the procurement of vaccines.
The country also recently announced USD 800 million of financial contribution in addition to the existing USD 200 million.
On the basis of its experience in helping to build medical supply networks that will reach every corner of the developing countries, the country will continue to extend the support to deploy vaccines to every person in the world with a view to containing a pandemic as quickly as possible.
COVID-19 cases in India:
The total coronavirus tally in India rose to 3,01,34,445 on June 25, 2021, after a single day rise of 51,667 COVID-19 infections. The death toll in India climbed to 3,93,310 with 1,329 more people succumbing to the disease in a day.