Vaccines are a big focal point in 2021 as the world fights its way back to normalcy amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Transporting these vaccines are a particular challenge, given that they need to be refrigerated and they will not be able to be used otherwise.

General mandatory vaccines for infants (such as polio vaccines) usually need to be stored at between two and eight degrees Celsius and will go bad without proper temperature management. Developing countries receive vaccine supply assistance from international agencies such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and UNICEF, but approximately 20% of that supply (equivalent to RM1.5 billion) has to be disposed every year due to temperature changes during transportation to hospitals and clinics.

Why do so much of these vaccines get wasted? Because of inadequate road infrastructure in these regions and the lack of proper refrigerated transport. Insufficient effective utilisation of vaccines is one of the reasons why around 1.5 million children die from vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) every year.

To help combat this issue, Toyota has teamed up with its subsidiary Toyota Tsusho and B Medical Systems to build a vehicle with a dedicated refrigerator for transporting vaccines. As you’d expect, the hardy Land Cruiser 70 Series (specifically the Land Cruiser 78, known as the Troop Carrier) is the perfect car for the job, outfitted with a CF850 vaccine refrigerator with a storage capacity of 396 litres, or 400 vaccine packages.

The vehicle also comes with an independent battery, which can either be charged while driving or through an external power source, allowing the refrigerator to be operated for around 16 hours without a power supply. Vehicle installation and conversion work was conducted by Toyota Tsusho’s African subsidiary CFAO as well as Toyota Customizing & Development, which handle the TRD and Modellista customisation brands.

The three companies have made the significant step of obtaining Performance, Quality and Safety (PQS) prequalification for quality of medical devices and equipment from the World Health Organization (WHO), making this the first vehicle in the world to do so. Notably, the Land Cruiser can now be used under the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) framework to distribute coronavirus vaccines.

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