How Pfizer maintains vaccines at subarctic temperatures in transit

Pfizer is currently the first company to apply Emergency permit That Coronavirus vaccine, Initiate a sprint by Food and Drug Administration scientists to approve it.

According to information released this week to the National Academy of Medicine, the Pfizer vaccine could be given about 25 million times in December, 30 million times in January, and another 35 million times in February and March. Recipients will need to take 2 doses every 3 weeks.

CBS News has looked inside the logistical challenges of releasing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to the public, including the required storage temperature found in the coldest places on the planet.

Winters are colder than the Antarctic, and dry ice made from carbon dioxide is essential for the transfer and storage of these vaccines. Pfizer vaccines should be kept 94 degrees below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry ice helps maintain subarctic temperatures during shipping.

Pfizer has developed a thermal shipper called a “cool box” for travel. It’s about the size of a carry-on suitcase.

Cooler box
Pfizer’s “cool box” helps transport coronavirus vaccines.

CBS News

Tanya Alcorn, Vice President of Global Supply Chain at Pfizer’s BioPharma, said:

Each “cool box” contains a minimum of about 1,000 doses of vaccine. This poses a challenge for local communities that do not have a place to store vaccines.

“No one wants to convey the message that the Wisconsin or American region is second-rate,” said Tim Size, secretary-general of the Regional Wisconsin Health Cooperative, which represents 43 regional hospitals throughout the state.

“If we can ship 1,000, we can ship 200,” he added. “It’s more expensive. It’s more annoying, but it allows cities to be vaccinated at the same time that rural areas are vaccinated.”

Pfizer told CBS News that it is working to ensure a fair distribution. This is just one of many challenges. Front-line healthcare professionals will be vaccinated first, but according to a recent Gallup poll, only 58% of Americans say they will be vaccinated when offered to the general public.

How Pfizer maintains vaccines at subarctic temperatures in transit

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