Pfizer and BioNTech have both applied for FDA emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccines. If that's approved, the first hurdle in getting you the vaccine is transporting it. That's where dry ice comes into play. It's not just a party trick anymore. See Pfizer's vaccine needs to be stored up at negative 94 degrees. That's about twice as cold as Antarctica in November. Dry ice can help, but it only stays cold for 24 hours at a time. That means the stuff has to be shipped fast. And medical experts still have to figure out how to store the vaccine until you get the shot.
"The logistical challenges are daunting and there will be many," said Baylor College of Medicine Senior VP James McDevitt.
North Carolina's Health and Human Services put out a 100 plus page plan. It says hospitals and health departments don't need to buy cold storage right now because Pfizer says they've developed special boxes that help the dry ice stay cold enough for up to 10 days. They can hold 1000 doses each.
In addition to the cold problem, North Carolina public health experts also have to get you to warm up to the idea that a vaccine is safe. There are lots of people we've talked with who said they don't trust it. The state plans to partner with key "trusted leaders" in each part of North Carolina, like pastors, mayors, community organizers. Together they will work to be transparent about what we do and don't know about vaccine risks and benefits. This will also go with a new ad campaign.
Of course, all of that takes a lot of money! Doctor Mandy Cohen is quoted as having said giving out the vaccine is expected to cost North Carolina $30 million in the first year. So far the feds have kicked in $9 million. In order to get any more, Congress will have to step in and help - and well, we've all seen how that goes lately.