U.S. Embassy facilitated the delivery of an energy efficient, ultralow temperature (ULT) freezer for the storage of COVID-19 vaccines, donated by the U.S. Government through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Ministry Health and Wellness. A handover ceremony was held today at the National Vaccine Building in Belmopan. In attendance were Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges, and Ministry of Health and Wellness CEO Dr. Deysi Mendez.
The ULT freezer, valued at $13,000 USD, can reach temperatures as low as negative 86 degrees Celsius and store more than 9,000 multidose vials of COVID vaccines. The addition of the ULT freezer will create new options for the Government of Belize to procure and store any available COVID-19 vaccine requiring ultracold storage conditions. This includes the Pfizer vaccine, currently the only vaccine authorized to vaccinate children from ages 12 to 18. Creating capacity to vaccinate children ages 12 to 18 is particularly critical for Belize, where approximately 42% of the population is under the age of 18.