The corona vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech can still be stored in a less cold freezer for several weeks. That is important news for distribution.
Pfizer and BioNTech may have had the vaccine first, they also presented countries that ordered it with a logistical problem. The vaccine must be stored at -70 and that kind of freezers are not exactly available everywhere.
-15 degrees: a viable option
In the meantime, Pfizer has carried out further tests and it now appears that the vaccine is also effective if, after storage at -70, it is kept at -25 or even -15 degrees Celsius for up to two weeks. After that, it can remain in a regular refrigerator for another five days.
The pharmaceutical giant itself released that news, it sent the cheerful announcement to the American pharmaceutical watchdog FDA. The European medicines agency EMA will also be notified soon.
And in Belgium?
The vaccine, which can keep well at ultra-cold temperatures for up to six months, will thus have a much broader scope. Poorer countries in particular, where ultra-cold freezers are not always available, may benefit from it. It may not matter to Belgium: distribution is done from hospitals that have sufficient ice-cold storage capacity.
Earlier this week, the European Commission ordered another deal with Pfizer for an additional 200 million doses. That news was somewhat unexpected: the pharmaceutical company is already delayed with the promised vaccines. 300 million doses are being delivered to Europe, the 200 million extra are on top of that.
In Belgium, at least 12.5 million vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech are being delivered, that was before this new order. Two shots are required for the vaccination to be complete.