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Pfizer says vaccine can be stored in normal freezers

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine does not need to be stored in expensive deep freezers that have posed challenges to the vaccination campaign, the company announced Friday.

Pfizer submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showing the vaccine is stable when stored between minus 13 degrees and 5 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators.

The company is asking the FDA to update its authorization of the vaccine to allow for vials to be stored at these temperatures for a total of two weeks as an alternative or complement to colder freezers. 

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Pfizer previously stated the vaccine must be stored at temperatures between minus 112 and minus  76 degrees Fahrenheit. It can remain stored at those temperatures for six months. Those requirements, which have posed challenges to rural hospitals, pharmacies and other vaccination sites, will become an option if the changes are approved by the FDA.

“We have been continuously performing stability studies to support the production of the vaccine at commercial scale, with the goal of making the vaccine as accessible as possible for healthcare providers and people across the U.S. and around the world,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

“If approved, this new storage option would offer pharmacies and vaccination centers greater flexibility in how they manage their vaccine supply.”