FTI, agencies underwrite Covid vaccine fridges

FTI, agencies underwrite Covid vaccine fridges

Federation of Thai Industries chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree
Federation of Thai Industries chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and state authorities are collaborating to support domestic manufacturing of refrigerators to hold Covid-19 vaccines at 2-8 degrees Celsius, building them at half the price of imported cold storage facilities.

The local versions are expected to be launched next month to serve the government plan to distribute 2 million doses of vaccines from February to April, said FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree.

"The pharmacy fridge production will support the medical equipment business, helping pave the way for the country to be a medical industry hub," he said.

Thai manufacturers can produce Covid-19 vaccine fridges at a cost of around 40,000 to 50,000 baht, compared with a price tag of 100,000 baht for imported equipment, according to the FTI.

The FTI's Electrical, Electronics, Telecommunications and Allied Industry Club (EETIC) is working with the Electrical and Electronics Institute and the Public Health Ministry to promote the manufacture of quality storage for Covid-19 vaccines.

Thailand is known as a production base for refrigerators and home appliances for both domestic and global markets.

An EETIC source who requested anonymity said development of fridges for Covid-19 vaccines will be divided into two phases.

Storage equipment for 2-8 degrees C will be produced first and provided to hospital personnel in 76 provinces, said the source.

"The government plans to provide them to a major hospital in each province. This should be sufficient to store stocks of Covid-19 vaccines," said the source.

In the second phase, fridges are designed to keep vaccines between -20 and -70 degrees C. This phase could be time-consuming because of the limitations of some raw materials, said the source.

The FTI is also cooperating with the government to set up a temporary 200-bed field hospital on a 49-rai plot in Samut Sakhon with a budget of 8-10 million baht.

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