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Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution will be a “logistical nightmare”

CBS News: “The long wait for a vaccine that could eventually spell the end of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be on the horizon. Last week, Pfizer said its vaccine in a trial has been 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, while Moderna on Monday announced similarly encouraging results. The companies could get emergency federal approval within weeks. Yet it will only be after the drugmakers ship millions of doses around the world that the real time crunch on the vaccination effort begins. Pfizer’s vaccine must be kept at nearly minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit to remain effective. That’s about 20 degrees colder than extreme winter temperatures at the South Pole. Early on, experts warned that the U.S. lacked the necessary ultra-cold storage trucks and cargo planes needed to ship hundreds of millions of doses at sub-sub-zero temperatures. In order to get around that, Pfizer has developed specially built deep-freeze “suitcases” that can be tightly sealed and shipped even in non-refrigerated trucks. But while Pfizer may have solved the problem of how to ship the frozen vaccine, these highly engineered shipping containers create other problems, particularly for the hospitals, pharmacies and outpatient clinics that will have to administer the vaccinations to hundreds of millions of Americans…Moderna’s vaccine also must be shipped frozen, although at comparatively less frigid -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, that will require the company to secure hundreds of refrigerated trucks, while the vaccine can only be kept in a standard refrigerator for up to seven days…”

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