According to Japanese automaker Toyota, each year, 1.5 million children die due to vaccine-preventable diseases each year. In addition to sometimes poor supply chain management, one of the reasons this tragedy occurs every year is due to difficulty in transporting these crucial treatments, which is something Toyota plans to change with the first-ever refrigerated vaccine vehicle in the world to obtain the World Health Organization’s Performance, Quality and Safety Prequalification.
Filling a vital need
According to Toyota, this Prequalification that was announced March 31st, also known as PQS, “is a system for the qualification of medical devices and equipment by WHO that was established to promote the development of medical devices and equipment applicable for the United Nations’ procurement as well as to set quality standards.” Besides, it helps ensure the safety of health technology for developing countries that may not have their own set of qualifications.
Toyota releases the world’s first refrigerated #LandCruiser for vaccines, which has obtained @WHO s performance, quality and safety prequalification, to deliver safety and security to remote regions across the world. https://t.co/jRHRh5a8Kd pic.twitter.com/Tgqw1LFFck
— Toyota Motor Corp. (@ToyotaMotorCorp) March 31, 2021
This WHO certified vehicle, developed by the Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, and B Medical Systems, is built around the base model of a Land Cruiser 78 and is equipped with a CF850 vaccine refrigerator that “has a storage capacity of 396 liters, or 400 vaccine packages.”
According to Toyota, due to the difficulty of transportation of these vaccines, which require very cold environments, to some countries, 20% of the vaccines supplied by UNICEF and similar organizations to these nations are thrown out each year “because they become unusable due to temperature changes during transportation.” To reduce waste and save lives, this car was built to keep lots of shots cold for long periods of time.
In fact, the refrigerator, which runs on an independent battery, “can be operated for approximately 16 hours without a power supply” and can even be charged by the vehicle while driving. Naturally, however, when parked, it would be charged via an external power source.
At a vital time
According to Toyota, this project will make a major difference in vaccine distribution worldwide, especially considering the pandemic age we currently live in. “This initiative contributes to the effective use of vaccines, addressing a social issue in developing countries,” Toyota wrote. “At the same time, it has the significance of being able to demonstrate initiative in the field of global health transportation.”
To further the globally cooperative nature of this endeavor, Toyota plans on working with international framework COVAX, which is working to help fairly distribute COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries. This goes to show that all sectors, even the car industry, can help solve a real issue if they just get creative and look a little harder for a solution.
Photo Credit: All used images are owned by Toyota and have been provided for press usage.
Source: Toyota press release