Louisville, KY – The Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine has arrived and it’s heading to hospitals and other sites that can store it at extremely low temperatures — about 94 degrees below zero. Pfizer is using containers with dry ice and GPS-enabled sensors to ensure each shipment stays colder than the weather in Antarctica. Doses should be delivered to all vaccination sites identified by states, such as local pharmacies, within three weeks, federal officials said. While the vaccine was determined to be safe, regulators in the U.K. are investigating several severe allergic reactions. The FDA’s instructions tell providers not give it to those with a known history of severe allergic reactions to any of its ingredients.
Shipments of the Pfizer vaccine will set in motion the biggest vaccination effort in American history at a critical juncture of the pandemic that has killed 1.6 million and sickened 71 million worldwide.
Initially, about 3 million doses were expected to be sent out, and the priority is health care workers and nursing home residents as infections, hospitalizations and deaths soar in the U.S. With numbers likely to get worse over the holidays, the vaccine is offering a bright spot in the fight against the pandemic that’s killed nearly 300,000 Americans.
Federal officials say the first shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine will be staggered, arriving in 145 distribution centers Monday, with an additional 425 sites getting shipments Tuesday, and the remaining 66 on Wednesday. The vaccine, co-developed by German partner BioNTech, is being doled out based on each state’s adult population.
UPS CEO Carol Tomé said the company is fully equipped to assist with the crucial chain of distribution.
“Vaccine distribution is a key part of moving our world forward by delivering what matters,” says Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS. “We have dedicated and hardworking people around the world who have been trained to store, handle, transport and deliver vaccines. We’re pleased to support our healthcare partners with smart, efficient logistics for these vaccines that will protect communities and save lives.”
Another vaccine by Moderna will be reviewed by an expert panel this week and soon afterward could be allowed for public use.