South African tech firm partners with UNICEF in global vaccine rollout programme

South African Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider Beyond has agreed to support United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) global COVID-19 vaccine rollout with its remote temperature monitoring technology.

The company has entered into a long-term agreement with UNICEF, who are responsible for distributing vaccines to 92 low and lower-middle income countries, while also supporting the procurement of vaccines for more than 97 upper-middle and high-income nations.

UNICEF is working with vaccine manufacturers, logistics companies and technology partners to procure, distribute and monitor two billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this year.

“Together with UNICEF and other nongovernmental organisations, our technology is already deployed in over 70 countries. The objective of this agreement is to accelerate the procurement process. Time is of the essence,” said Beyond CEO Ian Lester.

Beyond’s remote temperature monitoring devices and global IoT platform allows users to view the entire ‘cold chain’ in real time, which is important because vaccines must be stored and transported within a particular temperature range to ensure efficacy.

“Securing an equitable vaccine supply is only one part of the problem. Perhaps the bigger and vastly more complex challenge is in the storage and transportation of the vaccines, particularly within the last mile where power, infrastructure and skills are in short supply,” Lester added.