Japanese companies are ramping up production and delivery of ultra-cold freezers to store COVID-19 vaccines as the country is set to start vaccinations in late February, beginning with medical workers.
Kanou Reiki, based in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, sells freezers that can store items at temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius. U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 C.
The Japanese government, which plans to procure some 10,000 freezers, asked Kanou Reiki in December to help it achieve the goal.
The company ships freezers made by a Danish company, at a pace of up to 20 units a day, according to Kanou Reiki general manager Asuka Hirano.
Freezers are running out of stock at Kanou Reiki due to a rush of orders from local governments and hospitals as well as the central government. Customers will have to wait at least until April if they place orders now, according to Hirano.
“It’s an honor to be able to be of help. We’ll make sincere efforts as one,” Hirano said.
PHC Holdings Corp., a Tokyo health care device maker, will start around-the-clock operations at its plant in Gunma Prefecture in February to double its freezer production capacity.
A small-size freezer made by the company is capable of storing vaccines for some 8,500 people at minus 85 C.
Nihon Freezer Co., based in Tokyo, which is set to provide some 2,300 freezers to the central government, has outsourced production to another Danish firm.
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