The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) will deliver two ULT freezers to the Mayor’s office of Palmira, Colombia, to support the process of storage of the COVID-19 vaccine, provided for in the Departmental Strategic Vaccination Plan according to the guidelines of the Government of Colombia in the National Vaccination Plan.
These latest generation appliances, with a storage capacity of 368 liters and 570 liters, will be able to store 109,000 and 140,000 doses, respectively, at temperatures as low as -80°C, which will enable the vaccines to maintain their viability and effectiveness. They will be delivered to the Palmira Health Department which, in coordination with the Government of Valle del Cauca, will take charge of the logistics of the vaccination process, once the vaccines arrive in the country and in the department.
Jesús Quintana, Managing Director for the Americas of the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, said, “We have been committed to Colombia, to Valle del Cauca, and Palmira for over 50 years, and at this time we join efforts with the National Government, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, unions, academia, and local and departmental authorities to guarantee that the residents of Valle del Cauca will have a safe and effective vaccination process.”
The announcement was made during the visit of the mayor of Palmira, Óscar Escobar, the secretary of Municipal Health, Clara Inés Sánchez, and María Cristina Lesmes, Departmental Secretary of Health, to the Alliance’s Colombia campus, where they became familiar with the ULT freezers.
Mayor Óscar Escobar recognized that “from the Palmira Mayor’s office, in coordination with various sectors of the city, we have strengthened the infrastructure, our logistical capacity, and the human talent to administer biological products, in view of an operational plan for vaccination,” and added that “we are working toward the objective of stopping the chain of contagion and protecting the lives of our families, in order to meet the challenges of the city in matters of development and well being.”
For her part, the Governor of Valle del Cauca, Clara Luz Roldán, expressed her thanks for the support and assured that “during this pandemic, what I have felt most is the solidarity, and the teamwork of the public and private sector. This joining of forces has been very important in order to face COVID in all its phases, and now, in this phase of vaccination, I want to take this opportunity to offer our immense gratitude to The Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT for the ULT freezers, which are fundamental for the conservation of the vaccines.”
The ULT freezers provided by the Alliance are used to store samples of plant tissue and plant DNA for research and conservation projects. This material has already been redistributed to other ULT freezers used by the Alliance’s research groups.
“It is a collective effort of our research groups for the purpose of supporting the process of storing the vaccines. Our research and development projects will not be affected during the time that the two ULT freezers are on loan,” assured Gerardo Gallego, head of the molecular genetics and tissue culture laboratory of the Alliance.