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Alaska continues preparing to deliver first COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 7:09 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Pfizer’s 35,100 doses of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in shipping containers on cargo and commercial flights as soon as next week.

“This thermal shipping container, it is keeping temperatures at that ultra cold level,” said Kelsey Pistotnik of the Alaska Vaccine Assessment Program. “It can hold them for 10 days if that package is not opened.”

The vaccine containers have gages that monitor the temperature. Each one will be inspected after they land to make sure nothing went wrong.

There are several options to store the vaccine once it arrives at its final destination. Ultra cold storage units will keep the dose effective for up to six months. Refrigerators are another option but only work for up to five days.

“Really, that clock starts on the five days as the vaccine leaves our depot we’re hoping to get it to you within a day, day and a half,” Pistotnik said.

Moderna will send nearly 27,000 doses by the end of the month. The state is still waiting for more information about shipping and storing that vaccine.

Both vaccines do share one thing. Neither can go back into a deep freeze once it’s been refrigerated.

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