Recently, the New York-based company and its German partner BioNTech SE announced their immunizations was more than 90 percent effective at protecting against COVID-19 infection.
However, Pfizer says its vials, which use messenger RNA – or part of the virus’s genetic code in their vaccine candidates – have to be stored between -94F (-70C) and -112F (-80C).
At The New York Times DealBook Online Summit on Tuesday, CEO Albert Bourla was asked how distributing doses would work due to the temperature requirements.
‘In the US, we will ship to most of the places overnight,’ he told host Andrew Ross Sorkin.
‘So once we receive an address from the government, the next day the product will be there’
‘I think that the demand will be so big, it’s going to be injected in hours rather than days or weeks’ after approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The New York Times DealBook Online Summit was held on Tuesday attended by (clockwise from top right) Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Heidi Larson from the Vaccine Confidence Project and Pfizer Inc CEO Albert Bourla
When asked about shipping the vaccine with its storage requirements, Bourla (pictured) said the company will ship doses of it experimental COVID-19 vaccine to most places in the US overnight after it is approved
He said each box will have a GPS and a meter so officials know where the box is and what the temperature is in case something goes wrong (file image)
Bourla explained about the boxes that engineers at Pfizer have developed to ship the vaccine once it is approved.
‘Those boxes are isothermic boxes that have a GPS and also a tempo meter so we know at any point where the box is and what is the temperature so if something goes wrong, which we don’t anticipate, we will not use the vaccine,’ he said.
‘Every box is a small box…and can take 1,000 to 5,000 doses. And when we ship it, we don’t need to use refrigeration.’
Bourla says this allows the vials to be shipped via any method of transportation including trucks, airplanes and boats.
They can be kept in the specially-made boxes for several days, keep for months in freezers or up to one week in the refrigerator
Gates (pictured) also predicted that more than 50% of business travel and more than 30% of days in the office will permanently disappear due to the pandemic
‘So we feel very confident about it.’
Sorkin also asked Bourla why he didn’t accept funding from Operation Warp Speed, which is the government’s plan to fast-track the production of 300 million vaccine doses in America by 2021.
‘We didn’t take a single cent for any money and as a result we didn’t take follow any recommendations in protocols, we didn’t have to report,’ Bourla said.
‘The reason why I did it is because I wanted to liberate our scientists from the bureaucracy that comes together when you are accepting money from a governmental organization.
‘Even without taking the money you see what happened to our vaccine.’
This is in reference to President Donald Trump claiming that Pfizer waited to announce the results of its vaccine until after the November 3 election.
The conference was also attended by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Heidi Larson from the Vaccine Confidence Project.
Sorkin asked Gates for his prediction of what the world will look like now that many businesses have abandoned their in-person offices.
‘My prediction would be that over 50 percent of business travel and over 30 percent of days in the office will go away,’ Gates said.
‘Now it’s not the gold standard that you actually flew all the way here to sit in front of me, that can do the virtual connection and that it will be a high threshold for doing that business trip and that there will be ways you can work from home a lot of the time.’
He believes some companies will go extreme one way or the other but said he was impressed by how much has been able to be accomplished via virtual meetings.
‘We will go to the office somewhat, we will do some business travel, but dramatically less,’ Gates said.