Vials labelled “COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” are placed on dry ice in this illustration taken, December 4, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The United Nations Children’s Fund said Wednesday 50 freezer kits had arrived in Venezuela to boost the OPEC nation’s capacity to store coronavirus vaccines.

The freezers are the first of 100 to arrive this week to “support the country’s efforts to plan the introduction and deployment of vaccines,” said Dr. Melvin Moran, UNICEF’s immunization specialist, in a Tweet.

Earlier this week Venezuela’s health minister, Carlos Alvarado, said the country had already received about 1.48 million vaccines between doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and the Russian Sputnik V, both of which require two shots for full protection.

The refrigerators, which have a 256-liter capacity, can hold some 8,500 vaccine doses and will be handed over to authorities for distribution to 100 hospitals in the country, Moran told Reuters.

Duncan Hill, charge d’affaires of the United Kingdom’s embassy in Caracas said, also on Twitter, that the UK had supported UNICEF in delivering the equipment.

As of Tuesday Venezuela had reported a total of 201,807 infections and 2,208 deaths since March last year, although the country’s academies of science and medicine say the number of cases and deaths are higher.

Venezuela’s hospital network and other health centers often lack infrastructure, equipment, electricity and running water due to divestment, according to medical unions.

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Source: Thomson Reuters