Pfizer's vaccine requires storage at -75C, can we do it?
You may have heard the positive news on Wednesday morning surrounding one of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
Pfizer says new test results show their vaccine is 95% effective, it's safe and also protects the elderly and most vulnerable.
So now what?
Ontario plans to be in line to recieve 2.4 million doses of the more than 4 million headed to this country between January and march...
But this one needs to be stored at temperatures of minus 75 celcius
And, that could pose some significant problems.
"I think the biggest challenge that we're seeing is the uniqueness of that temperature," says Jonathan Berney from CIMCO Rerigeration in Toronto. "That's not an infratructure that currently exists."
He says we have a wealth of information with regards to food distrobution and storage, but that doesn't go far enough.
"A lot of the goods requires storage of -10 celcius, or even -30 celcius, but when you talk about -75, there's no infrastructure that's widely available that can currently do that," says Berney.
There are smaller commercial freezers on the market now, but they hold only 50,000 doses and come at a significant price tag.
"They're in the 30-40 thousand dollar US range."
So, that's almost out of reach for a pharmacy, if that's who will be distributing the vaccine.
That's another problem; no one knows who is going to administer the shots, whether it's hospitals or pharmacies.
"We need to better understand the model of distrobution," says Berney. And then we can figure out if this is going to work or not.