Pfizer Inc., a US-based pharmaceutical giant is preparing giant cold storage facilities, pending approval on their new COVID19 vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization. Pfizer has set up base at Kalamazoo, Michigan, and put up about 350 freezers in the stretch of land.
The facility is a hub in the sprawling supply chain Pfizer Inc. has built to handle the delivery of a vaccine widely awaited as a possible relief from the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. pharmaceutical giant says it wants to deliver up to 100 million doses this year and another 1.3 billion in 2021.
Pfizer is expecting to know whether their drug works by the end of October and will probably apply for an emergency use authorization soon after.
In the meantime, the organization is laying the groundwork for shipping out immediately after approval and will be operating out of its main bases in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and their other facility in Puurs, Belgium. They will be using cargo flights and trucks to deliver the drugs.
For transportation, Pfizer plans to cut out the middleman to avoid extra touchpoints and will be collaborating with FedEx Corp, United Parcel Service Inc., and DHL International GmbH. As a start, Pfizer will be sending out 24 trucks a day with 7.5 million doses to airports, after which cargo flights will be used for distribution.
To maintain temperature control, Pfizer has designed a unique cool box that is reusable and can maintain ultracold temperatures for about 10 days and can hold up to 5000 doses at a time. The boxes, packed with dry ice, can be tracked with GPS. they’re the size of a suitcase which allows for easier transportation allowing to get out large doses at a time.
With the current system for transportation, Pfizer is expecting an average of 3 days for delivery. They are also in the process of figuring out a system of transportation after the initial delivery which can help deliver to farther facilities.
Initial orders for the vaccine have been placed by the US Government for 100 million doses followed by another 500 million. The EU has also placed an order for 200 million doses. Japan has placed 120 million doses as an initial order, the UK placed an order for 30 million. Some South American countries and some from the Asia Pacific region have also placed orders.