Answer: A refrigerator shortage.
Many drug companies are reportedly only months away from having approved vaccines for the novel coronavirus. However, billions of people could find it very difficult to get a vaccine because there aren’t enough refrigerators to store them.
Many of the vaccines currently nearing production are RNA vaccines, which require very cold storage temperatures. Moderna’s vaccine must be stored at minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit), while Pfizer’s needs it even colder — minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit). Many countries don’t have sufficient cold storage facilities to hold enough vaccines for their entire population, particularly those living in rural areas.
According to the Associated Press, parts of Central and Southeast Asia, India, Latin America and “all but a tiny corner of Africa” are most in need of more cold storage infrastructure. Issa Ouedraogo, the national vaccination director of Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, told AP that only 40 percent of the country’s health centers have reliable refrigerators that would be capable of storing a coronavirus vaccine.
Looking for the latest gov tech news as it happens? Subscribe to GT newsletters.