WASHINGTON | Logistics giant UPS has increased its dry ice production capacity in its warehouses to be able to store and transport COVD-19 vaccines, and has developed freezers for small healthcare facilities.
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The company said it was now able to produce more than 500 kilograms of dry ice per hour in its US warehouses for the storage and transport of vaccines.
This ice will be shipped from the Worldport UPS site in Louisville, Kentucky (east-central), to hospitals, clinics, and health centers in Canada and the United States.
“A sharp increase in demand is leading logistics companies to anticipate a shortage of dry ice,” UPS details in a press release.
The vaccine developed by the American-German alliance Pfizer / BioNTech, and which could be authorized shortly after December 10, indeed needs to be stored at a temperature of -70 ° C. Pfizer has created special containers to keep the temperature at -70 ° C with dry ice for up to 15 days.
“Improving our dry ice production capabilities dramatically increases the agility and reliability of our supply chain when it comes to managing complex vaccines for our customers,” said Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare, cited in press release.
The warehouses “in Louisville, Dallas and Ontario (in Canada) will ensure that we have the capacity to produce dry ice to sufficiently pack and restock shipments as needed to keep products viable and efficient,” a- he added.
UPS has also developed, with the company Stirling Ultracold, portable freezers, which allow the vaccine to be stored between -20 and -80 ° C. They will be distributed and used by small healthcare establishments, such as doctors’ offices or pharmacies.
U.S. officials plan to distribute 6.4 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine upon approval from the Medicines Agency (FDA), and a total of 40 million before the end of the year, also including the vaccine developed by the biotechnology company Moderna, whose green light is also expected in December.