KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An invention built in Kansas City, Missouri could soon be deployed in Africa to get the COVID-19 vaccine to those who so desperately need it.
FOX4 first told you about Vaccine Pods, an idea developed by a former KCFD battalion chief, in January.
As the U.S. begins to roll out booster shots for those in need in the fight against COVID-19, some countries can’t even get their hands on the vaccine.
In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, the gap between wealthy and undeveloped countries continues to widen. In parts of Africa, the vaccine rate stands at just more than two percent.
“We’re talking about herd immunity here and getting vaccines out to the people in need and reaching that 70% threshold,” CEO Edward Collins said. “That 70% threshold isn’t 70% of our city, of our state or of our country, we need to get to 70% of the entire population.”
The six-foot, autonomous rapid intervention pod can hold 7,000 doses of the vaccine and get to areas other methods can’t.
It uses on-board batteries, but it’s also solar capable and has a backup generator to keep the vaccines at the required ultra-cold temperatures.
“The problem they have in the third world or undeveloped countries is they don’t have access to that dry ice, and 50% of those vaccines get thrown away every single year, even before COVID came about,” Collins said.
When FOX4 first showed you Vaccine Pods in January, it was a more large-scale design, like a portable moving container.
Collins said those can still serve as a base in these countries, but they went back to the drawing board to produce the more mobile and less expensive design.
Collins said they were built at the request of the United Nations Children’s Fund and the United States Agency for International Development.
While Collins can’t give a timeline of when his invention could be on the ground in Africa, he’ll be showing it to USAID and UNICEF in the coming days.
“It’s exciting just to have the opportunity to try to help,” Collins said.