How Will COVID-19 Vaccines Be Distributed and Stored?

October 4, 2020

A discussion with an expert on the particularities of the vaccines, which vary in temperature climate requirements and dosages.

As leading vaccine developers continue to collect phase 3 data for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) candidates, focus is beginning to turn from clinical effectiveness and safety toward vaccine prioritization and distribution.

How will the first regulated COVID-19 vaccines be managed and distributed?

In an interview with Contagion®, Lorne Clancey, senior director of temperature and environmental monitoring solutions at CenTrak, discussed an interesting facet of COVID-19 vaccine strategies: required storage temperatures for leading candidates.

“Some are going to require extreme cold—ultra-low temperatures, as a matter in fact, about minus-80 (Fahrenheit),” he said. “They have to be kept at this temperature to provide the necessary inoculation strength it has to deliver.”

Promising vaccines including the quartet of mRNA-based candidates from Pfizer and BioNTech would require dry ice use for storage and transportation, and space- and energy-consuming ultra-low units in hospitals and physician’s offices.

More is riding on the scientific community’s ability to cater to these specific needs than is discussed relative to the clinical data of the vaccines themselves.

“If the vaccine is compromised because of temperature, it’s not going to deliver the anticipated outcome, and that would basically mean the patient would have to come back and get it again,” Clancey said.