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Pfizer coronavirus vaccine distribution difficult and expensive, says AIIMS Director

The AIIMS director said Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine will be difficult to deliver in every corner of the country because of the vaccine's super-cold storage requirement which is not available in most hospitals even in big cities

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | November 11, 2020 | Updated 16:22 IST
Pfizer coronavirus vaccine distribution difficult and expensive, says AIIMS Director
AIIMS Delhi Director Randeep Guleria

AIIMS Delhi Director Randeep Guleria has said the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius and such logistics could be difficult to arrange in India. Pfizer recently announced that its vaccine has a high success rate which weighs over 90 per cent.

The announcement was made as the company released observatory data from early trials. Calling it a 'great day for humanity', Pfizer CEO said that the efficacy rates showcase the workability and safety of the vaccine, which is modelled using a novel mRNA technology.

However the euphoria might not last long as the herculean task of distribution of the vaccine to every corner of the world is yet to be carried out and it won't be a cake walk. Dr Guleria said, "Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius, which is a challenge for developing countries like India where we will have difficulties in maintaining a cold chain, especially on rural missions. Overall, it is encouraging news in vaccine research for those in Phase 3 trials".

Medical scientist and CMS professor, Dr Gagandeep Kang in an interview said, while Pfizer has not decided the cost of its vaccine, for India RNA vaccines are going to be very expensive.

Moderna has said that the cost of their coronavirus vaccine is going to be $37 (Rs 2,746) per dose. Pfizer, on the other hand, is yet to decide what will be the cost of its COVID-19 vaccine called BNT162b2.

Both, the AIIMS director and the professor said Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine will be difficult to deliver in every corner of the country because of the vaccine's super-cold storage requirement which is not available in most hospitals even in big cities.

Pfizer's vaccine shots, after they reach the vaccination centers, must be thawed from -70 degree celsius and injected within five days, if not they go bad. Currently, India does not have a system to deliver a - 70 degree celsius vaccine, hence its distribution will be a challenge for India or poor countries with a scarcity of resources.

Pfizer spokeswoman Kim Bencker said the company was working closely with the US government and state officials on how to ship the vaccine from its distribution centers in the United States, Germany and Belgium around the globe.

Also read: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial success major breakthrough in war against pandemic

Also read: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial volunteer says severe hangover-like symptoms after shot

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