KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -- Distributing Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine candidate will be a logistical challenge because it must be stored in ultra-cold temperatures. The vaccine must be kept at about -94 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is currently stored inside 350 ultra-cold freezers as the company waits for FDA approval. In the Kansas City metro, similar freezers are available to store the vaccine if needed at the University of Kansas Health System.
“It’s not very common that we have products or medication that need to be stored at that temperature,” Vice President for Pharmacy and Health Professions University of Kansas Health System Rick Couldry said.
The Pfizer vaccine will require patients to receive two separate shots 21 days apart. “We have to keep the product very cold and shipped in very much sub-freezing temperatures,” Vice President, Global Drug Safety Research and Development, Groton Labs Site Director, Pfizer John Burkhardt said.
Pfizer plans to use suitcase-sized cooling boxes to distribute the vaccine using a deep cold storage supply chain. “Once they take it out of the ice, they can give it five days in the normal freezer,” Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla said. “We have worked extensively to develop a distribution network.”
Local health officials say they are also working to minimize distribution challenges. “I know the hospitals and the leaders in the metro area are going to pull together,” Couldry said. “We are going to figure out a way to store the vaccine.”
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the two-dose vaccine will likely be available for most Americans who want it by April.