KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — The experimental Covid-19 vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech — which showed 90 per cent effectiveness at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 infection, according to early results — has complex and super-cold storage requirements.
Reuters reported that the vaccine — which uses messenger-RNA (mRNA) technology that harnesses genetic material to cause the body to create a protein from the coronavirus; the virus will then be recognised and attacked by the immune system — must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below.
“The cold chain is going to be one of the most challenging aspects of delivery of this vaccination,” Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, was quoted saying.
“This will be a challenge in all settings because hospitals even in big cities do not have storage facilities for a vaccine at that ultra-low temperature.”
Dr Gregory Poland, a virologist and vaccine researcher with the Mayo Clinic, one of the most prestigious hospitals in the US, reportedly said: “We’re talking about a vaccine that needs storage at minus 70 or 80. That’s a tremendous logistical issue not only in the U.S. but outside the Western world.”
STAT reported that according to an early analysis of results released by Pfizer and partner BioNTech showed that people who received two injections of the Covid-19 vaccine three weeks apart experienced over 90 per cent fewer cases of symptomatic Covid-19, compared to those who received a placebo. The Phase 3 study is still going on.
STAT, however, cautioned that there is no information yet on whether the Covid-19 vaccine prevents severe Covid-19 infection, which can lead to hospitalisation and death, or whether the vaccine can prevent people from carrying the coronavirus without symptoms.
The US health news site also noted that because the Covid-19 vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech has been studied for only a few months, it is unclear how long the vaccine can protect against the viral infection. The study results have also not been peer-reviewed.