Like the rest of the population we are very relieved to hear about the successful development of a Coronavirus (Covid19) Vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTec. The vaccine has been confirmed to have an efficacy rate of 90% against the virus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said care home residents and staff, NHS and social care staff, and then elderly people would be first in line for vaccination.
However there are many challenges to overcome before the vaccine is rolled out to the wider population. One of the challenges faced is that scientists have expressed concerns about how GPs will store vaccines as they must be kept at -80C.
They say many surgeries do not have freezers cold enough for them.
The vaccine will be formulated, finished and placed in cold storage in the pharmaceutical giant’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, facility, its largest such plant in the country. During the shipment and storage, the vaccines must be kept at -80C in order to maintain optimal efficacy. Each package can contain 1,000 to 5,000 doses.
From there, the vaccines will be packed below dry ice inside thermal containers expressly designed by the company for this vaccine’s delivery.
The packages will be shipped via air to major distribution hubs and then delivered by ground transport to dosing locations around the world, which “may include hospitals, outpatient clinics, community vaccination locations and pharmacies,” Pfizer spokesperson Kim Bencker told NBC News in an email.
Once the packages are delivered, receivers can store them in ultra-low temperature freezers for up to 6 months, inside a refrigeration unit for up to 5 days, or they can refill the box with new dry ice for up to 15 days of storage.
By the end of 2020, Pfizer will produce enough doses for 25 million people, Bourla said, adding that sensitive groups may be able to walk in to pharmacies and receive the vaccine by the middle of 2021.
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