Pharmaceutical company Pfizer on Friday asked the United States’ health regulator to relax storage requirements for their coronavirus vaccine after new tests revealed that they can be kept at warmer temperatures, potentially allowing it to be kept in pharmacy refrigerators.
In an official release on Friday, Pfizer said that they have asked the US Food and Drug Administration to allow to store the vaccine developed with German company BioNTech for two weeks at -25 degrees to -15 degrees Celsius (-13 to five degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures.
The current label requires the vaccine to be stored at temperatures between -80 degrees Celsius and -60 degrees Celsius (-112ºF to -76ºF), according to Reuters. The existing storage requirements of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine need ultra-cold containers for shipping and dry ice for storage.
“If approved, this new storage option would offer pharmacies and vaccination centres greater flexibility in how they manage their vaccine supply,” Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla, said in the company’s release.
“The data submitted may facilitate the handling of our vaccine in pharmacies and provide vaccination centres an even greater flexibility,” BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said.
Meanwhile, the FDA confirmed that it had received Pfizer’s request and said changes to the vaccine’s authorisation must be requested by a company and include data supporting the change, Reuters reported. It said authorisation would come either through a granting letter or a reissued letter of authorisation, which would be posted on the regulator’s web site.
In a separate development, Pfizer assured US President Joe Biden it will double the Covid-19 vaccine it manufactures in the coming weeks, Reuters reported. Bourla made the announcement during Biden’s visit to the drugmaker’s Michigan plant in the US.