Airlines prepare to take flight with vaccines, but there are ...

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Airlines prepare to take flight with vaccines, but there are snags

Keeping Covid-19 vaccines at below-freezing temperatures remains the biggest logistical hurdle

Laurence Frost and Ilona Wissenbach

Airlines are scrambling to prepare ultra-cold shipping and storage facilities to transport Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, whose doses, which require deep freezing, are likely to be among the first to be distributed.

A recent survey by an air cargo association and a drug shippers’ group found only 15% of industry participants felt ready to transport goods near the -70ºC required by the Pfizer Inc vaccine, while about 60% could meet Moderna Inc’s less stringent -20°C requirement.

Typically, airlines use containers with cooling materials such as dry ice to transport pharmaceutical products, but some don’t have temperature controls, making products susceptible to unforeseen events such as flight delays...

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