Pfizer vaccines can now be stored at refrigerator temperatures for up to one month, Health Canada announced Wednesday (May 19).
The move came when Health Canada authorized a request from manufacturer Pfizer-BioNTech to allow the vaccine to be stored from 2-8°C for up to one month at the point of use, i.e., at vaccine clinics. Long-term storage of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine will still require ultra-cold storage of between -80°C to -60°C, but this move is the first time that the vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures for more than five days.
B.C.’s health minister lauded the move on Wednesday afternoon.
“I think it’s it’s obviously good news that we have more flexibility in our immunization campaign,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said. B.C. had previously used the Moderna vaccine to immunize rural and remote communities and First Nations, but supply of that vaccine has not been steady. The province had immunized some remote areas with a “whole community” approach because it was too difficult to continuously return there to immunize different age groups. Soon, the province will need to return to those communities to dole out second doses, and Dix said Pfizer could be helpful.
“It gives us a little bit more flexibility in how we use the Pfizer vaccine, the kinds of flexibility we’ve had for a while with the Moderna vaccine.”