U.S. Delivers Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers for Vaccine Storage to Ministry of Health of The Bahamas

Nurse Ruth Bastian, National Immunization Coordinator (left) and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts discuss the COVID-19 pandemic response.

On July 28, 2021, the United States delivered four ultra-low temperature medical freezers for use by the Ministry of Health in storing COVID-19 vaccines.

The four freezers, which are valued at a total of over $100,000, can cool vaccine doses at up to -122 degrees Fahrenheit, and can store over 168,000 vaccine doses. U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) facilitated the acquisition of the freezers.

In addition to the ULT medical freezers, USNORTHCOM is also providing additional medical supplies (valued at around $115,000) needed to administer and handle any vaccine doses received, including syringes, phlebotomy equipment, and specialized tools and personal protective equipment for manipulating materials at sub-zero temperatures. Those materials will be arriving over the coming week.

“To completely defeat this virus we cannot isolate our response to domestic actions, we need to support and supplement the medical infrastructure of our geographic partners, and recognize that their safety is our safety,” said General Glen VanHerck, commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM. “US Northern Command is committed to the support of The Bahamas and ensuring they are equipped to reach their vaccination goals.”

This latest donation of ULT freezers and additional supplies adds to the long list of donations and assistance the United States has provided to The Bahamas throughout the pandemic, which includes:

  • Two Rhode Island National Guard missions to distribute thousands of vaccine doses to eight family islands throughout The Bahamas (Mayaguana, Acklins Island, Crooked Island, Cat Island, Long Island, Inagua, Bimini, and Eleuthera)
  • $535,000 in AIRVO respirators, Biofire test kits, and additional medical supplies from USNORTHCOM
  • Mobile shelters especially retrofitted to serve as medical tents for the COVID-19 response
  • $20,000 worth of respirator equipment from Rhode Island National Guard
  • $750,000 USAID ongoing grant to Bahamas Red Cross Society, which has provided (among others):
    • $85,000 BioFire respiratory disease rapid diagnostic machine
    • PPE and other services for frontline medical workers
    • Sanitizing stations at local schools in New Providence