Japan will buy 10,500 deep freezers to store novel coronavirus vaccines and is considering purchasing dry ice in bulk as it prepares to protect its population from the virus, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday.
Japan has agreements to buy a total of 290 million doses of the vaccines from Pfizer Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc, or enough for 145 million people if everyone gets two shots as required.
Pfizer’s vaccines need to be kept at around minus 75 Celsius (minus 103 Fahrenheit, and Moderna’s at about minus 20C, posing logistics problems.
Pfizer, as well as Moderna and its domestic partner Takeda Pharmaceutical, plan to build networks to keep vaccines at the appropriate temperature as they are distributed to where they will be deployed, the ministry said in a statement.
Japan has had more than 165,000 cases of novel coronavirus infection and 2,417 fatalities, with the capital, Tokyo, particularly hard hit. Tokyo reported 352 new cases on Tuesday.