Dr. Kathleen Dooling, a medical officer for the agency's division of viral diseases, said that storage, distribution, and handling requirements of these vaccines "will make it very difficult for community clinics and local pharmacies to store and administer," quoted by MarketWatch. Dooling also noted that most vaccines will have to be "administered at centralized sites with adequate equipment and high throughput."
Pfizer's vaccine, BNT162b2, must be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit (-69 degrees Celsius) and will last for 24 hours at refrigerated temps between 35.6 and 46.4 degrees (2 and 8 degrees Celsius). Moderna's vaccine, mRNA-1273, must be stored at -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius).
Pfizer has disputed the 24 hours duration and ensured the vaccine could last up to 2 days. The company also developed dry ice containers to ease the worries about shipment. Moderna is confident despite their similar predicament. A spokesperson for the drug company stated the storage temperature is "normal storage condition" comparable to home freezers.
The solution to finding a way to distribute the vaccines will be difficult for the companies to figure out given the accelerated timeline they are both under to delver one that is safe and effective. Moderna and Pfizer have promised big numbers for their distribution within the following months.
"Investors are increasingly looking to storage and delivery conditions across vaccine candidates as they consider competitive positioning," SVB Leerink's Mani Faroohor said in a note to investors. Storage temperature can be the deciding factor between two vaccines due to the emergency nature of the pandemic; nations need an early vaccine that is easier to distribute on a massive scale.
Pfizer has a contract with the U.S. government for $1.95 million for 100 million doses with an option of 500 million in the future. Moderna has taken $2.5 billion in U.S. government funding for the development and supply to forward progress with its vaccine. Moderna also has an additional 400 million doses for future order which could bring in a profit of $8.1 billion.