Rolling Out The COVID-19 Vaccine
The huge Pfizer drug manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo has been the site of a worldwide focus for a couple of months. Especially in the last few days. Pharmaceutical specialists at Pfizer have been at the forefront of COVID-19 virus research and now vaccine development. Over the weekend, refrigerated semi’s began pulling out of the plant site near the regional airport in Kalamazoo to begin distributing doses of the vaccine Pfizer developed with its project partner BioNTech. Pfizer has been producing the COVID vaccine at one of its European plants as well. Pfizer reports it is tracking every shipment to ensure the safety and viability of the vaccine doses. “We will utilize GPS-enabled thermal sensors with a control tower that will track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment across their pre-set routes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These GPS-enabled devices will allow Pfizer to proactively prevent unwanted deviations and act before they happen.”
The Lansing State Journal reports air transports loaded with the COVID vaccine left the Lansing Airport early yesterday after being trucked there from Kalamazoo. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel gave its approval to begin distribution and administering the vaccine on Thursday. That's when the scramble went into high gear. Similar approval was granted in the United Kingdom a week earlier. Kalamazoo and Kent counties have already been determined to be West Michigan regional storage and distribution sites. But every county in Michigan and most hospitals statewide have been getting set up with refrigeration equipment to safely store the delicate two-dose vaccine. It is set up for administering the doses a few weeks apart.
Pfizer and BioNTech will see huge financial rewards for their work. They secured a massive contract with the U.S. government to sell millions of doses to the country. All told, they plan to produce about 50 million doses by the end of this year and then ramp up to well over 1 billion doses for global administration through the end of next year.