United Airlines Holdings Inc. reportedly began operating charter flights on Friday to better distribute Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine after the vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
United flies chartered aircraft between Brussels International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport as part of its “first vaccination bulk airlift” sponsored by the FAA, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The news of the provision of charter flights comes when Pfizer began to lay the groundwork for the rapid movement of the vaccine, as approved by the FDA and other regulatory authorities.
According to the Journal, Pfizer has expanded storage capacity at specific distribution locations in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, and Karlsruhe, Germany. The pharmaceutical company plans to use a suitcase-sized frozen warehouse in cargo planes and trucks to distribute the vaccine worldwide.
Pfizer and United Airlines did not respond immediately to Fox News’ comments.
United Airlines can carry five times the amount of dry ice allowed on board to keep the vaccine at the required cold temperature.
Other cargo and passenger airlines have also begun preparing for future vaccine shipments, the Journal wrote.
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Earlier, Andrew Peterson, an assistant professor of philosophy at George Mason University, raised the complex issue of vaccine transport and distribution, as it must be stored at temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius or lower.
“If the logistics of distributing the Pfizer vaccine prove to be safe and efficient, it will undoubtedly be a Herculean task,” Peterson told Fox News. “In addition to the challenges of physically transporting the vaccine to air and ground transportation centers in America and internationally, there are additional barriers to keeping the vaccine at minus temperatures and monitoring thefts.”
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Last week, Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, applied for emergency approval for a coronavirus vaccine candidate to reach the world’s population as soon as possible.
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The vaccine was said to be more than 90 percent effective, effectively preventing people from becoming ill in Phase 3 studies.