March 13, 2024 | Medi-Products

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 Vaccine Storage: What You Need to Know

What is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Storage Temperature?

In order maintain efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, it must be stored in ultra-low freezers at around -70°C (-94°F). For reference dry ice is ~-78.3°C, and according to the CDC (U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention), some common vaccines such as the ones for HPV(b), HepA/B, and MenB(b) are stored at temperatures ranging from 2°C-8°C (36°F-46°F) with explicit instructions to not freeze.
On the colder end of this spectrum and closer to the requirements of Pfizer vaccine storage, are the MMR(b), MMRV(b) and Varicella(b) Vaccines. The recommended storage temperature for these are -50°C to-15°C (-58°F to -5°F). However, a difference of almost 20°C is quite an increase in terms of required freezing ability.

This will require equipment even more specialized than what is ubiquitous in an already specialized field. With supply chains currently leveraged to their maximum reaches, if not outright broken across the globe; expect dosages of this vaccine to be highly treasured and demand for ultra-low temperature freezers to surge as cold chain management becomes more important than ever for Pfizer storage.

Why does the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine need to be stored at such low temperatures?

The ultracold storage requirements of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is due to the usage of messenger RNA (mRNA) technology in its development. mRNA is a new technology in which the vaccine emulates a small slice of RNA from the coronavirus cells and uses that to essentially “teach” the immune system how to defend against it in the case of an infection.
However, the downside of this approach is that mRNA is easily subjected to rapid degradation when exposed to refrigeration temperatures outside of the -70°C range. Once degraded, the effectiveness of the vaccine is drastically reduced, thus the need for high-quality ultra-low temperature freezers is crucial to its distribution.
This is contrasted against the more familiar technology known as an “Adenovirus Distribution”. In this way, a non-threatening adenovirus is altered so that it appears to your immune system to be the virus you are trying to protect yourself against. It can “train” against this non-harmful pathogen and be prepared to fight off the real thing in the situation where you are infected.

Where can I find appliances to store the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?

Given the previously mentioned need to store the vaccine at -70°C (-94°F), you’ll best be served to look for what’s called a “Minus 80 freezer”, also known as an Ultra Low Temperature freezer for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Here are a few of the best "Pfizer Appliances" we could find:
  • Fischer Scientific produces ULT -86°C freezers that range from 3 to 20 cubic feet of storage in both upright and chest configurations.
  • PHCBI Similarly offers -86°C freezers for storing vaccines, but if needed, also offer cryogenic freezers for solutions that require temperatures as low as -152°C.

What will happen to my ultra low temperature freezer in a power outage?

With winter weather coming on, this could mean power outages around the country, threatening the storage of the vaccine. This could mean entire vaccine inventories being wasted, as well as the expense and time to manufacture, ship, and store new batches. This is not a chance worth taking since there is a race against time to administer these vaccines and save lives.
Medi-Products believes they can help. As specialized manufacturers of battery backup power for vaccine storage, including many different brands of ultra-low freezers, we have a unique solution to offer. Our battery backup technology is engineered to keep pace with the constantly increasing power requirements from these ultra-low temperature freezers and can be custom built to back them up for hours and even days at a time.
In the case of severe weather, engineering failure, or any other scenario where your vaccine refrigerator is unable to be properly supplied with the electricity it needs, our battery backup system will engage immediately, ensuring the safety of your coveted supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

Learn More About Battery Backup Power


To answer even more of your questions and find additional solutions to problems that could affect your medical facility or laboratory, check out these other articles from the Medi-Products blog and the Medi-Products Learning Center:

Where to Find the CDC Storage of Vaccines Guidelines

Meeting Recommended Standards and Requirements and for VFC, CDC and NSF456
How a Battery Backup Generator Saves You Money

Please contact us or download our planning guide to find out more about our Ultra-low freezer battery backup power systems!


Battery Backup for Vaccine Refrigerators and Freezers.

Our powerful battery backup systems will instantly power multiple appliances during a power outage. These custom sized systems can provide power for up to 72 hours of runtime!