COVID-19: Pfizer staff work all night to deliver vaccine

The pharmaceutical giant wants to produce 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021

COVID-19: Pfizer staff work all night to deliver vaccine

The highly anticipated first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech is now making its way to over 600 locations this week. By the end of 2021, a total of 1.3 billion doses is expected to be available globally.

To make this shipment possible, Pfizer employees have been working almost around the clock to pack up and ship out the vials, which will go to 636 hospitals and clinics across the US, one of the first countries to approve the formulation.

Read more: First person receives COVID-19 vaccine in UK

Pfizer staff work through the night loading up each box with dry ice and a GPS monitor to ensure the vials arrive safely and on time. After securing each package, they hand the load over to FedEx and UPS.

On early Sunday morning, as the first batch was shipped out of Pfizer’s Michigan plant, employees took a moment of silence before breaking out into applause. The team is hoping to get some 2.9 million doses delivered within the week.

“We have worked with Pfizer, McKesson, UPS, FedEx, and federal and local law enforcement agencies to ensure safety and security of the vaccine,” said Gus Perna, chief operation officer of Operation Warp Speed, a partnership between the US government and private businesses designed to accelerate testing and production of a COVID-19 vaccine.

‘Not yet over’

Canada also received its first batch of vaccines on Sunday – a total of 30,000 doses shipped from Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in Belgium. Healthcare workers, along with the elderly in long-term care facilities, will be among the initial recipients.

The government wants to secure a “regular drip feed of vaccines in the coming weeks,” according to Dany Fortin, the military official who now leads Canada’s vaccine distribution efforts.

Read more: Should the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory?

Amid the “good news,” however, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned: “Our fight against COVID-19 is not over.”

Public health officials across provinces will likely announce stricter health and safety measures for the holiday season.

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