The two companies submitted new data to the Food and Drug Administration showing that their COVID-19 vaccine can remain stable when stored at temperatures between -13 degrees Fahrenheit and 5 degrees. Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking an update to their emergency use authorization, which would allow the vaccine doses to be stored at those temperatures for two weeks, making them more accessible.
Moderna, which makes the other COVID-19 vaccine approved in the U.S., is able to store its vaccine vials at the warmer temperatures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine currently must be stored in ultra-cold freezers at temperatures between -112 degrees Fahrenheit and -76 degrees. It can remain stored at these frigid temperatures for up to six months. It must be shipped in a custom-designed thermal container for temporary storage for up to 30 days with refills of dry ice every five days.
“We have been continuously performing stability studies to support the production of the vaccine at commercial scale, with the goal of making the vaccine as accessible as possible for healthcare providers and people across the U.S. and around the world,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bouria said in a statement.