Pfizer claims its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine can survive without sub-zero temperatures for five days

Pfizer claims its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine can survive without sub-zero temperatures for five days
COVID 19 vaccineBCCL
  • The UK government has greenlit Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
  • The company claims that once thawed, the vaccine can survive at refrigerated temperatures of between two to eight degrees celsius, for up to five days.
  • Alternatively, if the dry ice is replaced every five days, the vaccine will remain viable for up to 30 days.
The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been greenlit by the UK government. This makes it the first COVID-19 vaccine developed in the west to get approval for mass immunisation.

However, in India, many experts have stated concerns around how Pfizer’s vaccine is not a suitable candidate for the country because it would not survive in warmer temperatures.


According to them, as compared to the Oxford vaccine which can be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures, Pfizer’s vaccine needs sub-zero temperatures to remain viable.
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Vaccine candidates and the temperatures they need to survive:
VaccineCold chain
Pfizer/BioNTech-70 degrees Celsius
Moderna-20 degrees Celsius
Oxford/AstraZeneca2-8 degrees
Johnson and Johnson2-8 degrees
Novavax2-8 degrees
Source: Respective companies

Pfizer, on the other hand, has proposed a workaround. The doses themselves will be packaged with solid carbon dioxide and placed in reusable containers. If left unopened, these boxes can keep the vaccine at the correct temperature for 10 days., which is minus 70 degrees celsius.

The company claims that even once the vaccine has thawed, it can still be kept in a fridge for up to five days. Alternatively, if the shipping boxes are topped with new dry ice every five days, the vaccine can be stored for up to 30 days.
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Pfizer points out that it’s unlikely that the vaccine will need to be stored for so long because the aim is to get them directly to the vaccine distribution centres to immunise the masses as quickly as possible.

The UK approves Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine
The first of the 40 million doses ordered by the UK will start to roll out in the coming days, according to the company. UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, told the press that at least 10 million doses will arrive this year and the delivery of further doses will continue through to next year in stages.


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Overall, Pfizer and BioNTech believe they have the capacity to supply up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and another 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.

Other than the UK, the US has ordered 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and Europe has bought 200 million. Both are expected to give their respective approval of the vaccine within weeks.

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