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Minister for Health Odete Maria Freitas Belo. Minister for Health Odete Maria Freitas Belo.

Timor-Leste Races to Set-up Cold Vaccine Storage, Fuelling Pfizer Supply Delays

DILI: Timor-Leste health authorities are working to import cold storage facilities that can safely store Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, raising concern equipment delays could hold back plans to start vaccinating Timorese children this month.

The push comes from a lack of infrastructure in municipalities to support a super cold vaccine campaign, including speciality freezers needed to store the Pfizer vaccines.

Minister for Health Odete Maria Freitas Belo said the Ministry expects the first shipment of Pfizer vaccine doses could be delayed to October when the specialised cold storage is in place.

’’If all the equipment’s are ready then vaccinations will arrive in the scheduled time that is expected in the last week of the month of September 2021 however if there is a delay it might be up to the beginning of October 2021’’ said Belo in an address about COVID-19 in Dili on Monday. 

The Pfizer shots are part of the COVAX vaccine distribution program.

Manatuto Director of Health Services, Mateus Vicente Correia on Saturday called for an acceleration of the Pfizer vaccine program and said he is concerned about the health of children who are at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved by medical regulators for use on children aged 12-17 years.

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