Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna have now both applied for emergency FDA approval for their Covid-19 vaccines. The F.D.A. is expected to review and make decisions on the applications within the next few weeks.
There are many similarities between the vaccines. Both have shown highly effective in their Phase 3 clinical trial testing data, with Pfizer at 95% and Moderna at 94.5%. They also both are developed using a similar technology called mRNA, which is a new type of vaccine. While many of the conventional vaccines work by injecting a weakened or inactivated version of the germ into our bodies, mRNA teaches our cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response without the live virus. This eliminates the risk of getting sick from the vaccine itself. Another similarity is that both vaccines require two doses - each a month apart.
However, there is one major difference between the two vaccines, which lies in the way they will be stored. Pfizer’s solution must be stored at -70 celsius and will require specialty ultralow freezers, while Moderna’s can be stored in standard freezers at -20 celsius. This means that the distribution of Pfizers product will be extremely difficult and complicated, especially in rural communities, while Moderna’s rollout will be much faster and easier.
This difference will also play a major role in backup power for the vaccine freezers. With winter approaching, the country is threatened with power outages from snow and ice buildup on power lines and breaking tree branches. Without power to keep these freezers at their needed temperatures, the vaccines will go bad. This will mean the loss of time, money and even lives.
Mediproducts, a company that specializes in battery backup power for vaccine refrigerators and freezers, can help prevent these losses with their unique products. These power systems are easy to install, and can support either the ultralow or standard type freezers that these new vaccines will require. However, there will be a difference in the size of the system needed to support these appliances.
Ultralow freezers consume a large amount of power. The more power needed, the more the number of batteries that will be needed. Also, many of these appliances require 220V and have multiple compressors, which means a high power surge when they cycle on and off. This in turn, means a high power inverter will be needed internally as well. These two factors will have an increased factor on the cost of these systems.
While we wait to see which route the F.D.A will take in their final decision, vaccine administrators should take into account the cost of backup power. With supplies limited from these large pharmaceutical companies, it is not worth the risk of losing these valuable supplies.