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For the COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer developed detailed logistical plans and tools to support effective vaccine transport, storage and temperature monitoring

After it is manufactured, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine must be stored frozen at -80°C to -60°C.   

To address this temperature requirement, Pfizer Global Supply (PGS) sites in the COVID-19 supply chain, as well as two Pfizer distribution centers, have created their own “freezer farms” – placing hundreds of freezers in spaces as big as a football field. 

Colleagues in Kalamazoo, Mich., converted one Pfizer warehouse into a freezer farm in a matter of months. 

While storage at -80°C to -60°C can be complicated, it is also critical to vaccine distribution plans.

For the COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer developed detailed logistical plans and tools to support effective vaccine transport, storage and continuous temperature monitoring.   

Vaccine distribution is built on a flexible, just-in-time system which will ship the frozen vials to the point of vaccination. Pfizer will utilize road and air modes of transportation with product delivered to points of use within a day or two. 

Pfizer has also developed packaging and storage innovations fit to meet the needs of our global network. Specially designed, temperature-controlled thermal shippers utilize dry ice to maintain recommended storage conditions. The shippers can also be used as temporary storage by points-of-use for up to 30 days by refilling with dry ice every five days. This allows for equitable access to the vaccine to areas with differing infrastructure.​​​​​​

GPS-enabled thermal sensors monitored by a control tower can track the location and temperature of vaccine shipments in real time. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

“Each and every one of our Pfizer medicines has a temperature requirement, and I make sure our medicines are within the proper thresholds so we can safely deliver them to patients,” said James Jean, Director, Temperature Control Logistics Lead, Pfizer Global Supply. 

For the COVID-19 vaccine, I have worked with our scientists, engineers and specialists to develop strategies to safely and effectively distribute the vaccine globally. When we develop a distribution strategy, we look at all of the different phases in the medicine’s life-cycle and put preventive safety measures in place to protect them as they move.”

James Jean

Director, Temperature Control Logistics Lead, Pfizer Global Supply

​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 16 years of age and older. The emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564(b)(1) of the FD&C Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner. Please see EUA Fact Sheet at

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