Pfizer announced Friday that its coronavirus vaccine can be stored in a regular freezer, not the expensive, ultra-cold freezers they originally indicated were necessary. That could mean more vaccine options for rural providers who were unable to afford the new freezers."Pfizer submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration showing the vaccine is stable when stored between minus 13 degrees and 5 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators," Jessie Hellmann reports for The Hill. "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."
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the most prevalent in the U.S., but the Moderna vaccine has been more attractive to rural areas from the start since manufacturers have always indicated it could be stored in a regular freezer. Many rural hospitals, already struggling financially even before the pandemic, said they couldn't afford the $10,000 to $15,000 for one of the ultra-cold freezers.