CDC panel chair: US will learn about Pfizer vaccine’s dry ice transport system from UK

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) panel on immunizations said the U.S. will take note of how the United Kingdom distributes a coronavirus vaccine after the country cleared Pfizer’s candidate for emergency use.

Jose Romero, chair of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, said on CNN Wednesday morning that he’d be looking at Britain’s delivery method, particularly its use of dry ice to keep the vaccine cold as it travels across the country. 

“I’m very pleased that they will be receiving a vaccine. I think it’s an important aspect in bringing this pandemic under control. We’re interested to see, I’m personally interested to see how well they can deliver it and how their transport system, the dry ice trays that hold this vaccine, function in the real world,” Romero said.

“I think what we’ll learn, principally, is how this transport system works, the dry ice transport system. Does it keep the vaccine cold? Are there any issues involved in getting the vaccine out from a central point into the public sector? We can learn from that and adjust our plans as necessary.” 

The remarks came hours after the U.K. became the first nation in the world to approve Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use. Data has shown it to be 95 percent effective.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the first 800,000 doses of the vaccine would likely be received in the next few days and that people over 80, health care and other front-line workers and residents of nursing homes will be prioritized.

The Pfizer shots will have to be transported with dry ice to remain at below-freezing temperatures to maintain its efficacy. 

Pfizer requested an emergency use authorization in the U.S. last month, and health officials have said the first vaccines could be administered by the end of the year.

Romero’s panel said Tuesday that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities should be the first in the U.S. to get the vaccine, while people older than 65, essential workers and those with underlying medical conditions will be immunized in a second phase.

Tags Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccine

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