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Plan to Examine Distribution Wrinkles

Pfizer has started a pilot program in a handful of US states to examine the distribution challenges facing its candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, the Guardian reports.

Pfizer and BioNTech reported last week that their experimental SARS-CoV-2 vaccine appeared in early data to have more than 90 percent efficacy in preventing COVID-19. The companies added that they planned to seek Emergency Use Authorization from the US food and Drug Administration for the vaccine within weeks.

But the Pfizer and BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has to be kept very cold at about -70°C (-94°F), the Guardian notes, adding that that requirement may make distributing it tricky. With this pilot program in Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee, Pfizer aims to refine its delivery plan for the vaccine and chose these four states because of their differences in size, diversity, and immunization infrastructure. "This pilot program and our collaboration with US and state officials will help us prepare for broader vaccine deployment in the near future, subject to authorization or approval, as we work to address this urgent public health need," Pfizer's Angela Hwang says in a statement.

Moderna also announced yesterday that its experimental SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has high efficacy in preventing infections in initial data and, the Guardian notes, does not have to be stored at such cold temperatures.