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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Can Be Stored at Standard Freezer Temperature, Claims Submission for Revision of FDA EUA

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Feb 2021
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Image: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Can Be Stored at Standard Freezer Temperature, Claims Submission for Revision of FDA EUA (Photo courtesy of Pfizer)
Image: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Can Be Stored at Standard Freezer Temperature, Claims Submission for Revision of FDA EUA (Photo courtesy of Pfizer)
Pfizer Inc. (New York, NY, USA) and Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNTech; Mainz, Germany) have submitted new data to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demonstrating the stability of their COVID-19 vaccine when stored at -25°C to -15°C (-13°F to 5°F), temperatures more commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators.

The data have been submitted to the FDA to support a proposed update to the US Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Prescribing Information, which would allow for vaccine vials to be stored at these temperatures for a total of two weeks as an alternative or complement to storage in an ultra-low temperature freezer. The FDA submission includes stability data generated on batches manufactured over the past nine months of COVID-19 vaccine development, from the batches that supplied the earliest clinical trials through the commercial scale batches currently in production. These data also will be submitted to global regulatory agencies within the next few weeks.

Currently, the labels for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, including the EUA label in the U.S., state that the vaccine must be stored in an ultra-cold freezer at temperatures between -80ºC and -60ºC (-112ºF to ‑76ºF). It can remain stored at these temperatures for up to 6 months. The vaccines are shipped in a specially-designed thermal container that can be used as temporary storage for a total of up to 30 days by refilling with dry ice every five days. Before mixing with a saline diluent, the vaccine may also be refrigerated for up to five days at standard refrigerator temperature, between 2⁰C and 8⁰C (36⁰F and 46⁰F). If approved, the option to store at -25°C to -15°C (-13°F to 5°F) for two weeks would be in addition to this five-day option to store at standard refrigerator temperature. The vaccine is administered at room temperature by medical staff. As additional stability data are obtained, Pfizer and BioNTech anticipate the shelf life and/or expiration date could be extended, and alternate short-term temperature storage may be considered.

“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 US and around the world,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “We appreciate our ongoing collaboration with the FDA and CDC as we work to ensure our vaccine can be shipped and stored under increasingly flexible conditions. If approved, this new storage option would offer pharmacies and vaccination centers greater flexibility in how they manage their vaccine supply.”

“Our top priority was to quickly develop a safe and effective vaccine and make it available to the most vulnerable people in the world in order to save lives. At the same time, we have continuously collected data that could enable storage at around -20°C. The data submitted may facilitate the handling of our vaccine in pharmacies and provide vaccination centers an even greater flexibility,” said Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech. “We will continue to leverage our expertise to develop potential new formulations that could make our vaccine even easier to transport and use.”

Related Links:
Pfizer Inc.
Biopharmaceutical New Technologies



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