most vaccines must be kept in a cool place all during the time when they are being transported and used. that is a big problem in some developing countries where electricity and transportation are not always available.
some non-governmental organizations are urging drug makers to investigate whether their vaccines can be shipped safely at room temperature. one such group, doctors without borders, believes that room temperature vaccines – vaccines that are outside what has been called the "cold chain" – will reach more people. anna matteo has the story.
the "cold chain" requires that vaccines be kept in a cool environment, with no changes in temperature, until they reach the end user. this "cold chain" is supposed to keep the medicine effective and stop it from going bad.
but the group doctors without borders says the cold chain leads to vaccine shortages. and it warns these shortages result in 20 percent of children below the age of one going without their vaccinations each year.
kate elder serves as a vaccine advisor to the group. she says that because most vaccines are produced by western drug makers, keeping them cold is not a problem in developed countries. the problems start, she adds, when you try to provide these medicines in other countries.
"but when you get into context like chad and democratic republic of the congo and south sudan, where electricity is scarce and where roads are very poor and transportation very difficult, it becomes a huge challenge to keep these relatively fragile commodities cold all the way through to areas where kids need them."