As Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine comes into the home stretch on the R&D side, the drugmaker is scaling up an ambitious supply chain and distribution system aimed at delivering hundreds of millions of doses around the world as quickly as possible.
The system centers on distribution sites in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Puurs, Belgium, where the company will load reusable, temperature-controlled containers on a total of two dozen trucks per day, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company plans to ship 7.6 million doses daily to nearby airports.
The sheer size of the effort is complicated further by the fact that Pfizer’s mRNA-based shot must be stored at almost 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. To make that happen, the company designed suitcase-sized shipping containers that will keep its doses at ultracold temperatures for up to 10 days. Each container holds between 1,000 and 5,000 doses, the newspaper reports.
Pfizer is planning to purchase cargo space on an average of 20 planes per day from FedEx, UPS and DHL International to transport doses to points as close as possible to vaccination sites, such as major hospitals or remote medical centers, according to WSJ.
Those carriers will also be responsible for trucking doses from airports to those sites, according to the newspaper. In all, the company expects deliveries to take three days.