Careful logistics are needed

Written by on December 24, 2020

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was the primary to be permitted by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration, with first doses shipped out across the nation this month. One other vaccine, this one made by Moderna, has received emergency authorization as well, and the primary shipments arrived this week. The following main hurdle is transporting the vaccine safely. That is the way it works:

Vaccines want to remain in a sure temperature vary, often refrigerated, to stay efficient. Greater than half of vaccines could also be wasted globally yearly due to temperature management, logistics and shipment-related points, according to the World Health Organization

A number of steps are wanted to ship vials of vaccine to native hospitals and pharmacies for injection into an individual’s arm. The low-temperature “chilly chain” that runs from vaccine manufacturing to administration represents one of many largest challenges of the vaccine distribution effort. Throughout every a part of the method, the vaccine containers should be saved at precisely the suitable temperature. 

One other hurdle for the chilly chain is that the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna each require two doses, spaced a number of weeks aside. This implies the suitable variety of doses should be accessible on the proper time for injection of the second dose. Operation Warp Velocity, the U.S. authorities vaccine growth effort, plans to have 20 million doses accessible in December, one other 30 million in January, and one other 50 million in February.


Pfizer makes its U.S. vaccine in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It ships containers with vaccine through firms comparable to UPS and FedEx to areas across the nation. The corporate additionally plans to use a distribution middle in Nice Prairie, Wisconsin. 

As soon as vials with vaccine are transferred to a fridge, they should be used inside 5 days. A single vial should provide five doses of vaccine after dilution. Nevertheless, pharmacists have reported that vials contain extra doses. At that time, the answer is sweet for six hours.


As for Moderna, the vials with vaccine will journey from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Indiana to McKesson Company’s distribution middle in Irving, Texas, the hub of the federal authorities’s Operation Warp Velocity vaccination initiative. The middle is outfitted with freezers to retailer the vaccine for longer durations. From there, the vaccine kits are distributed to hospitals, pharmacies and different vaccine administration websites.

The Moderna vaccine can tolerate a lot greater temperatures throughout delivery than the one from Pfizer, and has an extended shelf life as soon as it reaches the administration location. After thawing, Moderna vaccine can final within the fridge for 30 days and doesn’t require dilution. As soon as the vaccine is faraway from the fridge for injection, it could actually maintain at room temperature for as much as 12 hours.

SOURCE USA TODAY analysis, Pfizer, Moderna, WHO.

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