Tractor trailers loaded with suitcase-sized containers of Covid-19 vaccine will leave Pfizer Inc.’s manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sunday morning – to launch the largest and most complex vaccine distribution project in the United States where the virus is spreading, according to Reuters reports. .
US regulators late Friday authorized the use of the vaccine from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, and US guards will escort tightly-secured shipments from the factory to the final destination.
“We’ve spent months strategizing with Warp Speed process officials and our healthcare customers on effective vaccine logistics, and it is time to put the plan into action,” said Wes Wheeler, UPS chief of healthcare, on Saturday.
Pfizer’s dry ice coolers can contain up to 4,875 doses, and the first stage of their journey will be from Kalamazoo to nearby aircraft. Workers will load the vaccine – which must be kept in sub-Arctic temperatures – on the plane that will take them to the United Parcel Service or FedEx Air Shipping Hubs in Louisville, Kentucky, and Memphis, Tennessee, respectively.
From there, they will be transported by truck or airlift to facilities near 145 U.S. sites designated to receive the first doses.
Familiar UPS and FedEx delivery drivers, who may also be carrying holiday gifts and other packages, will deliver several “bags” into the hands of healthcare providers on Monday. These shipments are the first of three shipments expected this week.
Health care workers and elderly residents of long-term care homes are the first to receive vaccinations.
Pfizer vaccinations have the most restrictive shipping and storage temperature requirements, and are below 70 ° C (minus 94 ° F).
UPS and FedEx are giving vaccine a top priority, reserving space on planes and trucks at a time when pandemic-related e-commerce and the holidays are driving more demand for deliveries than carriers can handle.
Both companies are experienced in handling fragile medicinal products and they leave little room for error. They provide temperature and location tracking for the backup devices included in Pfizer boxes, and track every shipment along its journey.
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