PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Companies manufacturing coronavirus vaccines are working closely with federal and state leaders to create a distribution plan. But once approved by the FDA, one of the biggest challenges during distribution will be transporting and storing the vaccines at their required temperatures.
For example, the recommended temperature for the Pfizer vaccine is -70°C for up to 10 days, according to the manufacturer’s distribution fact sheet.
Pfizer will use temperature-controlled thermal shippers to transport its vaccine, which require dry ice. Now one local dry ice supplier tells KDKA his phone lines have been ringing constantly with requests from around the region.
“A lot of pharmacies calling, a couple different health departments,” said Ed Kelly, the owner of Kelly Dry Ice Company.
Over the past three weeks, the company has received more than 20 inquiries. Most requests are for small pellets of the product for ease of handling.
“If the vaccine is small, they could put it in a container and put 20 pounds of it in there and that would keep everything frozen for two days, three days,” said Kelly.
Kelly told KDKA he and his suppliers are ready and eager to meet the rise in demand.
“As long as we can help these people out, we will help them so we can get back to normal. That’s what everybody would like to see,” said Kelly.
So far, the Kelly Dry Ice company has contracts with two out of state medical facilities. But with distribution on ice at the moment, there are no orders just yet.