American, United Airlines Begin Flights to Support Distribution of Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine

By Paul Riegler on 28 November 2020
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American Airlines and United Airlines are putting the wheels into motion to distribute Pfizer’s new Covid-1i vaccine.

Because the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at -94° F (-70° C) during transport, although the pharmaceutical manufacturer said it can be kept at 36° F to 46° F (2° C to 8° C) for a maximum of five days in refrigeration units at hospitals.  Pfizer has developed what is calls “thermal shippers” which can utilize dry ice and maintain the -94° F temperature.  The thermal shippers can be refilled after arrival if an ultra-low temperature freezer or hospital refrigeration unit is not available.

United on Friday began to operate charter flights that position the thermal shippers containing vaccine for quick distribution once the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine receives approval from regulatory agencies in various countries. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is slated to review Pfizer’s application on December 10.

Meanwhile, American Airlines said Friday that it had successfully completed a trial flight that tested the airline’s thermal packaging and stress test processes.

“We have established a network of team members that specialize in temperature-critical shipments, and work closely with the FAA on regulations governing shipments transported with dry ice,” American said in a statement late Friday.  “We have worked with the FAA to increase dry ice limits on our wide-body cargo-only flights.”

News of the United flights was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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