Solar fridges and powdered vaccines: How to get a COVID-19 vaccine to the developing world

When a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use, one of the next major challenges will be logistical: How do you distribute billions of doses around the planet, including to remote corners of the world that lack reliable electricity, when the vaccine has to stay refrigerated to be effective?

As part of the preparation, UNICEF is mapping out a network of refrigerators and cold storage rooms across the developing world—and helping put new equipment in place, including tens of thousands of refrigerators that run on solar power. Other groups, like the International Rescue Committee (IRC), are focusing on preparing healthcare workers to administer the vaccine.

“For a situation of this size, where so many countries need to launch a vaccine at the same time for so many people, it’s a huge undertaking,” says Dr. Mesfin Teklu Tessema, who leads the health unit for the IRC. “And unless everyone is protected, no one is safe.”


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