United Airlines has begun shipping Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to various countries pending regulatory approval in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.
The US medical regulator, the FDA, reviews Pfizer’s vaccine and others and may approve this and other vaccines by mid-December. At the same time, US President Donald Trump said that the vaccine could be available as early as early December. There will not be widespread access to the vaccine yet – it is planned first to vaccinate health workers and the most vulnerable people.
According to the newspaper, Pfizer’s plan to distribute the vaccine includes warehouses in the US state of Michigan and Belgium, and warehouses are also being prepared in distribution centers in Wisconsin and Germany. Dozens of planes are already making hundreds of flights a day with the vaccine, the newspaper said.
The FAA told the newspaper that it supports the first mass deliveries of the vaccine and works on safe transportation.
According to the newspaper, United requested that the regulator transport more dry ice than usual to maintain the vaccine’s ultra-low storage temperatures. United was allowed to carry up to 15,000 pounds (almost 7 metric tons) of dry ice – five times more than usual, the newspaper said.
Vaccines, according to her data, are transported in containers the size of a briefcase, whose small size allows greater flexibility in delivery.
Pfizer distributes the vaccine independently through its own channels.
The Wall Street Journal says that some other passenger and cargo airlines are preparing to supply the vaccine.