Following the disclosure of potential irregularities in the cooling of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine shot, the vaccination drive against COVID-19 has reportedly faced delays in several cities in Germany. Based on the new mRNA technology, the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of nearly -112 degrees F (-70 degrees Celsius) for staying effective before being shipped to distribution centers, add sources with knowledge of the matter.
As per reports, the European Union rolled out a mass coronavirus vaccination campaign on Sunday, where medics and pensioners lined up for obtaining the first shots for combating the pandemic that has disrupted economies, claiming over 1.7 million lives at the global level. According to a statement by the Lichtenfels District Office, doubts regarding the cold chain compliance requirements arose while reading the temperature loggers that were bound in the cool boxes.
Other than Lichtenfels, the northern Bavarian cities of Wunsiedel, Coburg, Bayreuth, Hof, Kronach, and Kulmbach also held off from inoculating people following the emergence of uncertainty regarding whether the cold chain requirements had been fulfilled. While, Pfizer has developed special shipping containers having dry ice for keeping the vaccine from spoiling while in transit, these shots can also be preserved in an ultra-low temperature freezer for a six-month duration, or for five days at 2°C to 8°C, a type of refrigeration that is usually available at hospitals.
Reliable sources cite that the government is also planning the distribution of over 1.3 million doses to local health authorities by the end of 2020, with nearly 700,000 doses every week commencing from January. Further, vaccinations will also be available and free to everyone from mid-2021 once the priority groups will be likely to have finished inoculation.
According to a tweet by Health Minister, Jens Spahn, this makes the government feel proud and confident in its capabilities for overcoming the pandemic as vaccination is understood to pave way out of the crisis.