Covid Vaccine Storage, Transport Won’t Need ‘Phenomenal’ Investment, Says Blue Star
The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo/Bloomberg)

Covid Vaccine Storage, Transport Won’t Need ‘Phenomenal’ Investment, Says Blue Star

Storage, transportation and administration of Covid-19 vaccines won’t require phenomenal investments in India regardless of the type of vaccine approved, according to Blue Star Ltd.’s B Thiagarajan.

“If someone is imagining this to be a Rs 1 lakh crore opportunity, I'm debunking this theory,” the managing director of one of India’s largest commercial refrigeration companies said in an interview to BloombergQuint’s Niraj Shah.

That’s because India already has a robust immunisation programme and administers over 30 crore vaccines every year. Just one medical freezer can hold around 1,000 vials of the coronavirus vaccine which reduces the need for extremely large storage facilities, he said, adding that it’s likely to be a fast-moving product.

If India rolls out a vaccine which required to be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius, a mere Rs 200-crore investment will suffice for a nation-wide rollout, Thiagarajan said. This amount will increase to Rs 500 crore if the vaccine needs to be stored at -20 to -25 degree Celsius, and Rs 1,500-2,000 crore if India rolls out the Pfizer vaccine meant to be stored at -70 degree Celsius.

Also read: Health Ministry Details India’s Preparedness For Covid-19 Vaccine Storage

“Pfizer has done a phenomenal job and the way they have packed it with dry ice,” he said, adding that the vaccines can be transported and stored in simple -25 degree Celsius medical freezers.

To be sure, any of the three levels of investment would lead to a good opportunity for India’s commercial refrigeration industry, according to Thiagarajan, because of the nascent size of the industry. Blue Star claims to have a 70-75% market share of the pharmaceutical refrigeration market.

Also read: Covid-19 Vaccines: India Needs A Win-Win-Win Tatkal Scheme

Watch the full conversation here:

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