United Airlines flies FIRST batches of Pfizer COVID vaccine into US in refrigerated cases

United Airlines is beginning to fly the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination around the country ahead of a mass inoculation program expected to begin in late December, according to a report.

The airline has been granted special permission by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly increased quantities of dry ice, to keep the vaccine cold.

Pfizer's vaccine is reportedly being transported by United Airlines in readiness for distribution

Pfizer's vaccine is reportedly being transported by United Airlines in readiness for distribution

Pfizer’s vaccine is reportedly being transported by United Airlines in readiness for distribution

United Airlines have been granted permission to fly an increased quantity of dry ice for cooling

United Airlines have been granted permission to fly an increased quantity of dry ice for cooling

United Airlines have been granted permission to fly an increased quantity of dry ice for cooling

Pfizer’s vaccination must be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius.

The routes being flown were not specified by the Wall Street Journal, which reported the news.

The paper said that Pfizer, which has its global headquarters in New York City and has 10 other sites across the United States, plan to make use of refrigerated storage at their final-assembly centers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Puurs, Belgium.

Pfizer will also make use of storage capacity at distribution sites in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, and in Karlsruhe, Germany,

The 150-year-old company also plans dozens of cargo flights and hundreds of truck trips each day.  

United intends on flying chartered cargo flights between the Belgian capital, Brussels, and Chicago’s O’Hare airport to support distribution of the vaccine, according to a November 24 letter from the FAA viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The FAA said in a statement on Friday that it was supporting the ‘first mass air shipment of a vaccine,’ and that it is working with airlines to safely transport COVID-19 vaccines. 

United had asked the FAA to be allowed to carry more dry ice than is typically allowed on flights, in a bid to keep the vaccine cool.

The FAA said it would allow United to carry 15,000 pounds of dry ice per flight, which is five times more than normally allowed – dry ice is controlled on passenger planes because of concerns about leaks of carbon dioxide, which may not be detected mid air.

Pfizer have created suitcase-size boxes packed with dry ice to keep its vaccine doses cold, the paper reported.

It means they can ship the vaccine quicker, by eliminating the need for large temperature-controlling containers.

Link hienalouca.com

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