COVID Vaccine From Pfizer Requires ‘Ultracold’ Storage



The vaccination for COVID-19 from the biotech company, Pfizer, must be stored in “ultracold” freezers. The vaccines require temperatures between -112 to -76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Connecticut has 27 acute care facilities and less than half have the “ultracold” refrigeration needed to store the highly anticipated vaccine.

Some hospitals are willing to buy the necessary freezers to store the COVID-19 vaccines while others are not able, according to Kathy Kudish, who manages the immunization program for the Department of Public Health.

Pfizer reported their COVID-19 vaccine is effective at a rate of 95 percent —  28 days after the initial shot. A second dose must be administered 21 days later.

Forty-three thousand people participated in three phases of clinical trials with no reports of side effects of serious concern.

Moderna also touts a COVID-19 vaccine with 94.5 percent effectiveness. It also requires two doses. The second dose should be given after 28 days.

The storage requirement for Moderna’s immunization does not require “ultracold” temperatures. A standard freezer should be able to store the vaccines at -13 degrees to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Moderna had 30,000 participants in three phases of clinical trials. There were no reports of any side effects that were serious.

Pfizer plans to have between 20-30 million doses available for distribution by the end of December 2020. Moderna expects to have 15-20 million doses by year’s end.

Before the COVID-19 doses from Pfizer are distributed in Connecticut — to the few facilities that can satisfy the “ultracold” storage requirement — officials are trying to determine who will receive priority in obtaining the vaccine. The groups of people that may be considered first, according to Nichelle Mullins at Charter Oak Health Center, are:

  • Caretakers of relatives in multifamily households
  • Essential workers who work in Connecticut but reside in another state
  • Patients with two or more medical conditions

The panel meets again on December 17, 2020, to facilitate a national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Written by Sheree Bynum


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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jernej Furman’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License