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Polio Today, The Cold Chain

Today almost 60% of vaccines are thrown away because of doubts about their potency after breaks in the cold chain and possible damage from exposure to high temperatures. –World Health Organization, 1996

A vaccine manufacturing site and the children needing immunization may be separated by thousands of miles. And over that distance, the vaccine must be maintained at a temperature just above freezing. National Immunization Days require a network of freezers, refrigerators, and cold boxes across the world’s jungles and deserts.

Left photo. A variety of items used by vaccinators
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Right photo. Men unloading vaccine from a truck
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Left: Two vaccine coolers, oral vaccine bottles, blank tally sheet used by vaccinators to keep track of the homes they have visited, ink and bottle for marking finger after vaccination Courtesy of Rotary International and Pan American Health Organization
Right: Unloading vaccine from a truck in Moradabad, India Courtesy of Jean-Marc Giboux, photographer

“Motor bikes developed for use by farmers in the Australian bush have been adapted to meet the specifications needed for vaccine delivery. Elsewhere, health workers make use of horses and even dug-out canoes to ensure that vaccine gets through to children in the remotest health system.”
—World Health Organization, 1996

Left photo. Vaccinators walking and on camels
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Right photo. Man administering a vaccination to a child while two woman and a man look on
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Left: Transporting vaccine via camels in India, 1997 Courtesy of Jean-Marc Giboux, photographer
Right: Vaccination in Moradabad, India Courtesy of Jean-Marc Giboux, photographer
Photo of vaccinator giving a child oral drops
Vaccinator with burro, Yemen Courtesy of Jean-Marc Giboux, photographer
Photo of two men walking

Vaccinators walking to a desert town, Herat, Afghanistan Courtesy of Jean-Marc Giboux, photographer

Photo of men sitting in a boat with a box of vaccines

Transporting vaccine by boat, Yemen Courtesy of Jean-Marc Giboux, photographer

Smithsonian National Museum of American History main site
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