One of the two major vaccine candidates must ship at -70degC meaning yes there will be a new huge player in dry ice consumption. However this isn’t new as a ton of biologics are shipped on dry ice. The other vaccine candidate must ship at -20degC.
So there’s a few moving parts in the equation. Whose vaccine will be more popular? Will there just be a small shortage on the first shipment or will it continue to eat the supply? Can a pharma giant bring a dry ice plant into their existing infrastructure, or will they, and if so would it help at all or not even put a dent in their consumption?
"Yeah. Well, it depends on which vaccine we’re talking about. The two vaccines that are the furthest along in clinical trials both have to be kept cold but to different degrees. So one is made by the drug company Pfizer, and that requires the coldest storage. It needs to be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius, which is close to the temperature of dry ice. And Pfizer has spent some $2 billion building their own global supply chain. So here in the U.S., they have an assembly center in Kalamazoo, Mich., where they’ll be packing vaccine vials into dry ice pods. And these pods will be loaded into boxes that can keep these ultra-cold temperatures for up to 10 days. And they’ll be moved around the country in cargo planes and trucks by carriers like UPS and FedEx.
Now, the Moderna vaccine requires storage at minus 20 degrees Celsius, which is comparable more to a home freezer. And that one would get distributed by the government, at least at first. So Moderna will get the vaccines to a government site. And from there, the government will work with a private contractor to get the vaccines out to locations like hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, wherever they’re requested by states."