How Will It Travel
In the short-term, Pfizer has a plan.
The vaccine will be distributed from its own centres in the US, Germany and Belgium.
It will need to travel both on land and by air and possibly be stored in distribution centres, before being delivered to anywhere the vaccine will be given.
Pfizer has developed a special transport box the size of a suitcase, packed with dry ice and installed with GPS trackers. Each reusable box can keep up to 5,000 doses of the vaccine at the right temperature for 10 days, if it remains unopened.
Wiltshire-based firm Polar Thermals makes similar boxes for other vaccines and counts Pfizer among its clients, but not yet for this particular purpose.
The box is not likely to be cheap. Head of sales Paul Harrison says a standard chilled transport box, which will retain a temperature of up to -8C for five days and is big enough to hold 1,200 vaccines, costs about Â£5,000 per unit – although they can be reused thousands of times.
His firm uses aerogel as insulation, rather than dry ice – which could be handy if a global carbon dioxide shortage from earlier this year continues to affect the availability of related products, such as dry ice.
What Does The Vaccine Do
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA to encourage your cells to initiate an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. Janssens vaccine uses a vector to provide our cells DNA instructions on how to create COVID-19 spike proteins that will initiate an immune response. The vector used in Janssens vaccine is a harmless adenovirus that has been modified so it wont be able to replicate or cause illness. To learn more about vector technology,. You rely on proteins every day to keep your body healthy. Our bodies use mRNA and DNA to tell our cells which proteins to make, which are antibodies in this case. Vaccines that use mRNA are typically quicker and easier to produce, which has helped accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine process. Janssens vector technology is established and has been used to create the Ebola vaccine. The ingredients used in the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are simple. They contain mRNA, as well as lipids to ensure safe delivery of the mRNA that will initiate an immune response. Although FDA approved adjuvants and preservatives have a history of safe use in vaccines, they were not used by Pfizer and Moderna in this vaccine technology.
Contrary to claims on social media, it is not being used to reduce blood acid levels in patients.
As more variants of COVID-19 develop, vaccination continues to be our best tool to reduce the chances that the virus has to mutate.
How Does It Spread
Currently, most monkeypox cases are in men who have sex with other men. Still, Dr. Michael Chang, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann in Houston, stresses that no one is immune to monkeypox infection. It does not care about your sexual orientation, age, or health status.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone children and adults, healthy or immunocompromised, Chang says.
Chang says the primary mode of transmission is skin-to-skin contact. This contact may include:
- direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids, including respiratory secretions from a person with monkeypox
- close or direct contact, usually defined as sexual activity, hugging, kissing, or prolonged face-to-face contact
- touching unwashed objects, fabrics , and surfaces that were used by someone with monkeypox, though this mode isnt as common
Chang adds that a pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
In the past, most cases of monkeypox were actually in children after contact with infected animals, but that doesnt seem to be the case with the current outbreak, Chang adds. An outbreak in the US in 2003 was traced back to infected prairie dogs.
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The Covid Cold Chain: How A Vaccine Will Get To You
A vaccine logistics expert explains how millions of frozen vials will be widely distributed
Two drug companies have now reported highly successful results from phase III trials of COVID-19 vaccines. On November 18 Pfizer and partner BioNTech said their vaccine was 95percent effective at preventing the disease, based on full trial results. Two days earlier Moderna reported its vaccine was 94.5 percent effective, based on interim data.
Both Pfizer and Moderna use the same genetically engineered vaccine approach, which involves messenger RNA molecules.Assuming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes the vaccines for emergency use, each firm will have to ramp up production and distribution tremendously. Pfizer expects to produce up to 50 million doses worldwide in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion in 2021. Moderna intends to manufacture approximately 20 million doses in 2020 and 500 million to one billion in 2021. A person receiving either vaccine will need two doses, administered three or four weeks apart.
Modernas shipping temperature will be 20 degrees C. Is that typical for frozen products? And is Pfizers temperature of 70 degrees C extreme?
What kind of facilities can handle 70 degrees C?
The vaccines dont have to stay frozen right up to the time of inoculation.
Each Pfizer vial actually supplies five doses. How is that handled?
It sounds like places need to line up a lot of recipients so vaccine is not wasted.
What about production quality control?
Do The Mrna Vaccines Cause Myocarditis
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently updated the fact sheets for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to state:
“Myocarditis and pericarditis have occurred in some people who have received the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. In most of these people, symptoms began within a few days following receipt of the second dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The chance of having this occur is very low. You should seek medical attention right away if you have any of the following symptoms after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart”
We advise patients to take note of how their heart feels in the days after COVID-19 vaccination. If you experience any of these symptoms, please ask your doctor about it. If you have chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency room. Learn more about myocarditis.
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Do We Need A Vaccine For The Common Cold
Each year, millions of people in the United States get the common cold. Adults may have about two colds a year, while children tend to have more.
While it may be frustrating to have a cold, it rarely leads to serious issues. They tend to go away within seven to 10 days.
Simple treatments can help relieve symptoms:
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Using an air humidifier, which adds moisture to the air
If a cold triggers more serious issues, they tend to be treatable, such as ear infections.
Vaccines are often made to protect people against illnesses that could cause serious damage or death. Vaccine research can take a lot of resources, such as time and money. With this said, resources tend to go towards more serious illnesses, such as tetanus, whooping cough, and Covid-19.
The common cold tends not to be dangerous for the majority of people who get it.
However, preventing the common cold is important. A vaccine that protects from the common could help those with lung issues, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . People who have these lung conditions can have more severe symptoms when they develop a cold. And people who have immune problems, due to HIV infection or cancer treatment, for example, can develop a more severe illness when they get a cold.
While there are challenges to developing a vaccine against the common cold, these challenges might not be insurmountable.
Can Those Whove Gotten The Vaccine Still Transmit The Virus
We dont know, but you have to figure if someone has less virus, they might not transmit it as effectively. This could slow down the number of additional cases. That is really the idea with a vaccine, but nobody knows that for sure. That is the hope.
There will still be people who get sick, especially since there are so many cases. People are still going to need to wear masks and socially distance. Its not a passport to go back to normal living. If you are, in theory, one of the 5% who got the Pfizer vaccine and still got COVID-19, you could still transmit the virus to people, and they could get super sick.
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What Is A Cold Chain
Maki: A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain that maintains the quality and efficacy of a vaccine from the time its manufactured until the moment a patient receives it. While most flu vaccines are refrigerated between 35 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, Pfizers COVID-19 vaccine must be stored at an ultracold temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit. Thats colder than winter in Antarctica.
Primary care means front line care
What Happens If I Have A Reaction From The Vaccine And End Up With Unexpected Hospital Bills
So far, reactions from the COVID-19 vaccines are extremely rare. However, if you find yourself in this situation, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has a program called Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program that will reimburse people who end up with unexpected medical bills due to the COVID-19 vaccines.
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Plus How To Make Sure Yours Has Been Properly Stored To Remain Effective
Joni Sweet is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in travel, health, and wellness. Her work has been published by Health, SELF, Healthline, National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Thrillist, and dozens of other publications. When shes not traveling the world, she can be found practicing yoga, riding her bike, and looking for the best vegetarian food in the Hudson Valley.
More than two million doses of the two new vaccines against COVID-19 have been put in people’s arms since December 14. But racing the shots to the frontline health care workers hasn’t been an easy featthe Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine specifically must be stored at subzero temperatures, creating a logistical puzzle of dry ice and specialized freezers. And while the Moderna vaccine remains stable at slightly balmier temperatures, it too must stay frozen throughout shipping and long-term storage.
So what’s the deal with these cold storage requirements? Here’s why it’s critical that the new COVID-19 vaccines are kept super chilly and how to make sure the one you get has been stored properly.
How Will Novant Health Keep The Vaccines At The Right Temperatures
Maki: In September, Novant Health purchased four ultracold freezers dedicated solely to COVID-19. They are the size of a domestic, French door fridge/freezer combo not much bigger than an appliance youd have in your kitchen. We ordered enough freezers to give us capacity for any potential scenario we could envision happening in 2021, so we are very well prepared.
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Why Must These Vaccines Be Stored At Different Temperatures
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines, meaning that they are made using fragments of viral genetic material.
Essentially, Atwell says, the two vaccines are lipid nanoparticles that encapsulate the messenger RNA inside and have a stabilizing effect. She attributes the big temperature variation in their storage temperature requirements to the sort of lipid nanoparticles that encapsulates the mRNA.
Simply put, the vaccines must be kept so cold to prevent them from breaking down. If they do, they become useless.
Even scientists would like to know why there is such a disparity between the Pfizer and Moderna storage requirements. But they know the answers lie in the scientific formulations for the vaccines. And drug companies are known to guard these “recipes” zealously.
So in other words, scientists may never know for certain.
“It just comes down to what their data is,” vaccine researcher Margaret Liu tells NPR. “If their data shows that it’s more stable at a certain temperature, that’s it.”
While drugmakers are certain to keep their secrets “close to the vest,” it’s always possible that some researcher, somewhere, will unlock the mysteryand maybe remove one of the impediments of getting “shots in arms” across the country and across the globe.
How Will These Storage Demands Be Met
Keating anticipates that these requirements will significantly complicate the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine. In order to ensure the efficacy of the vaccine, people will need to be vaccinated at centralized locations with access to minus 80 degrees Celsius freezers or dry ice containers, she said.
This equipment is high maintenance in and of itself. Dry ice containers need to be replenished regularly, and dry ice supply may prove to be difficult to maintain, she said.
Pfizer has tried to preempt criticism by developing and manufacturing storage units specifically tailored to the vaccine. Roughly the size of a suitcase, these units can carry at least 975 doses and are packed with enough dry ice to recharge it one more time, said Jessica Atwell, PhD, assistant scientist in the division of global disease epidemiology and control in the department of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
However, it wont be feasible to ship them worldwide.
Doing that in high-income countries like the U.S. is one thing,” Atwell said. “Trying to do that in low- and middle-income countries around the world, even a normal 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, refrigerator-like temperature, can be really difficult in many parts of the world. So it’s definitely an implementation challenge.
We dont currently use any that require minus 70-degree storage, Atwell said.
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Manufacturing And Distributing The Covid
Pfizer consistently and diligently monitors the supply of our medicines. We operate one of the most sophisticated supply chain systems in the industry, with over 40 Pfizer-owned sites and over 200 suppliers globally, which provides capacity and redundancy as needed. Our manufacturing and supply chain professionals have been working non-stop to ensure that the global supply of Pfizer medicines continue to be available to patients. We have implemented an unprecedented and comprehensive preparedness plan to control our site operations and will continue to provide timely updates if there is any new information to be shared.
A Cold Chain Overview
with Angela Hwang, Group President, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group
A Look at Cold Storage & Distribution
with Mike McDermott, President, Pfizer Global Supply
The combination of OWS logistics expertise coupled with Pfizers deep manufacturing and distribution expertise provides a solid foundation for success.
Cold chain is how the temperature of perishable products are managed in order to maintain quality and safety from end to end in the distribution process. Cold chain is used for consumer products like ice cream and other frozen foods, as well as medicines and vaccines.
Once a POU receives a thermal shipper with our vaccine, they have three options for storage:
What Is The Current Covid
- Ages 5 to 11: 2 primary doses, 3 weeks between the first and second dose
- Ages 12 and older: 2 primary doses, 3 to 8 weeks between the first and second dose. A booster dose is recommended after 5 months
- An 8-week interval may be optimal for some people, especially for males ages 12 to 39 years
- Ages 18 and older: 2 primary doses, 4 to 8 weeks between the first and second dose. A booster dose is recommended after 5 months
- An 8-week interval may be optimal for some people, especially for males ages 12 to 39 years
Johnson & Johnson
- Ages 18 and older: 1 primary dose. A booster dose is recommended after 2 months
If you are immunocompromised, or have a medical condition that impacts your ability to get vaccinated, please talk to your doctor about a COVID-19 vaccine scheduled tailored to your personal medical needs.
Learn more about these recommendations.
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Access To The Vaccine
Q. How can I get the vaccine in DC?
A. It is easy to get the vaccine now! All DC residents 5 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, however for children 5-11, the only authorized vaccine is the pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine. To find a COVID-19 vaccine, search vaccines.gov, coronavirus.dc.gov, or text your Zip Code to 438829. If you are unable to leave your home, call 1-855-363-0333 and we’ll come to you.
Can I Choose Which Vaccine I Get
We arent there yet. That wont be possible in the short term. I would say get what you can get when something becomes available to you. I really dont think people should wait. If you have access to get any vaccine, you should get it. Even if it doesnt completely prevent it, you are much less likely to have severe disease and die. Maybe youre just at home and feel terrible as opposed to having to be admitted to the hospital with low oxygen. Hospitals and clinics are going to be limited in the short term on what they can provide folks.
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Differences Between The Frontrunners
There are currently three COVID-19 vaccine frontrunners: one made by AstraZeneca, one made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and one made by Moderna. As reported here by the Washington Post, AstraZeneca says that its vaccine candidate, developed by Oxford University, is up to 90% effective in clinical trials. Pfizer and Moderna have reported vaccines that are 95% effective.
The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a modified version of a chimpanzee cold virus to deliver instructions to cells to fight the target virus .
Meanwhile, both the Pfizer and Moderna candidates rely on new technology known as messenger RNA to activate the immune system against the virus . Each uses synthetic genetic material that can be generated and manufactured in weeks, and produced at scale more rapidly than conventional vaccines .
Each candidate has different storage temperature requirements.
The AstraZeneca vaccine can also be transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures, which proponents say would make it easier to distribute – especially in poor countries .
The Moderna vaccine is stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius , but can be kept for a month at normal refrigerator temperatures .