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More vaccine storage capacity by end of year

The HSE is currently “securing” more vaccine storage space, which will be in place by the end of the year, this newspaper has been told. The Medical Independent (MI) asked the Executive whether further storage capacity would be needed in preparation for any future Covid-19 vaccine.

“Vaccines currently are stored in the National Cold Chain Service,” said the Executive spokesperson.

“There is sufficient capacity to store 1.5 million doses and more capacity is currently being secured, which will be available by year end.”

All vaccines are stored and delivered under temperature-controlled conditions by the HSE National Cold Chain Service, which is managed by United Drug Distributors.

Separately, the HSE told this newspaper that funding had been found to upgrade its national immunisation information system. In August, MI reported on a HSE warning that “a new system is required to more easily accommodate schedule changes and record [a] Covid-19 vaccine if this vaccine becomes available”.

The HSE has confirmed that the National Immunisation Office has commenced a project to purchase an integrated system. According to the Executive, “funding availability has been indicated, and we will be making every effort to bring about the project to coincide with any future Covid-19 vaccine plans.”

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