Why Temperature Control And Cold Chain Monitoring Are Critical To Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been authorised for the prevention of the virus in individuals aged 16 and above, by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under an Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA). More broadly, there remains a huge demand for the Pfizer treatment and other COVID-19 drugs in poorer and more remote parts of the world, where temperature control becomes difficult.

All of these factors present significant challenges to the distribution of a vaccine that requires storage and transportation at very low temperatures, in order to preserve its efficacy. To meet these challenges, Pfizer has developed cold chain packaging and storage innovations to fulfil the needs of its global network of over 40 company-owned sites and over 200 suppliers.

Pfizer employs specially designed temperature-controlled thermal shipping containers that use dry ice to maintain recommended temperature conditions for up to 10 days unopened. The containers are roughly the size of a carry on suitcase, and can weigh up to 37 kg fully loaded. Each contains a GPS-enabled thermal sensor that’s linked to a network of control towers, which track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment across the various routes. This enables Pfizer supply chain monitors to proactively prevent unwanted temperature deviations, and act before they occur.

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