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'Must wait for other options', says Kiran Mazumdar Shaw on Pfizer vaccine's storage issues

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine would need to be stored at -70 degree Celsius, which experts believe, would be a daunting challenge even for the best medical centres

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | November 12, 2020 | Updated 13:46 IST
‘Must wait for other options’, says Kiran Mazumdar Shaw on Pfizer vaccine’s storage issues
Coronavirus vaccine update

Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said that it is best for India to wait for more conventional coronavirus vaccines from AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Bharat Biotech. Mazumdar Shaw was commenting on the challenges that India would face in order to distribute and store Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

"If US experts describe it as a daunting challenge how can India even contemplate such a vaccine in the country? I think we ought to wait for more conventional vaccines from AZ, J&J, Bharat Biotech etc," said Mazumdar Shaw.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine would need to be stored at -70 degree Celsius, which experts believe, would be a daunting challenge even for the best medical centres. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said, "The cold chain is going to be one of the most challenging aspects of delivery of this vaccination. 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."

JP Morgan stated that there are three hurdles to overcome on the road to vaccination -- vaccine approval, distribution and acceptance. "Among the three hurdles, transporting and storing a vaccine that in the Pfizer version needs to be maintained at -70 degree C (or 30 degree C degrees colder than the temperature of the North Pole) is coming down to a question: does the world have enough freezers?" it asked. JP Morgan said that distribution and logistics relating to production, transportation and administration are the major challenges.

The recent discussion around Pfizer coronavirus vaccine erupted after the company said that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed along with BioNTech has shown over 90 per cent efficacy. The candidate became the first in a long list of vaccines globally to announce successful results from a large-scale trial.

Also read: -70 degree C storage: The big problem with Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine

Also read: Coronavirus vaccine: Husband-wife team behind BioNTech, Pfizer's vaccine success

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