Texas among states chosen to test Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Texas among states chosen to test Pfizer vaccine distribution
Pfizer picked Texas to test because of our diversity, population size and the ability to reach people in both cities and rural areas.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As COVID-19 numbers keep going up and as people keep getting tested, there are big updates on the experimental vaccine coming to Texas.

Pfizer has picked Texas as one of four states to test distribution of its possible vaccine. The other states chosen include Rhode Island, Tennessee and New Mexico.

When the vaccine is ready, there will be a massive roll out, and Pfizer has to figure out how it gets delivered and distributed.

Pfizer picked Texas to test because of our diversity, population size and the ability to reach people in both cities and rural areas.

READ MORE: Pfizer says early data shows coronavirus shot may be 90% effective

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top-infectious disease expert, said the results suggesting 90% effectiveness are "just extraordinary," adding: "Not very many people expected it would be as high as that."

This doesn't mean Texas will get the vaccine before other states, we were just chosen for distribution testing.

Moderna announced Monday that its vaccine appears 94.5% effective. It's more expensive than Pfizer's vaccine, but it can be stored at regular refrigeration temperatures. Pfizer's vaccine must be stored at 94 degrees below zero, which could complicate mass distribution.

People in the Houston area are participating in the Moderna trials happening through Baylor College of Medicine.

It's a double blind study, so doctors and patients both don't know who's getting the vaccine and who's getting the placebo.

SEE ALSO: Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine could be up to 94.5% effective, late-stage Phase 3 trial finds

Moderna said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine is proving highly effective in a major trial, a second ray of hope in the global race for a shot to tame COVID-19.

"I do think I got the vaccine, only because after I got the second one, I had a really bad reaction to it for like a day," Moderna trial participant Lila Amaro said. "So that kind of makes me hopeful for the future. You know, if it is something that's working."

Amaro clarified that her reaction to the vaccine left her feeling like she had the flu for about a day, but she says she'd do it again in a heartbeat if she had the chance.

The U.S. Government says its on track to have more than 40 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for the public by the end of the year.

ABC13 reached out to FedEx for a comment on this development in Operation Warp Speed. They sent the following statement:

"As healthcare companies develop and prepare to distribute vaccines against COVID-19, we recognize that shipping COVID-19 vaccines is complex and critical work with many moving parts. FedEx is working closely with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Dept. of Defense (DoD), and our healthcare customers on vaccine distribution plans as a part of HHS' Operation Warp Speed. We are confident in our strong relationships with our healthcare distribution customers as we work through the preparation and prioritization of these deliveries.

The FedEx network is well positioned to handle these shipments with our temperature-control solutions, real-time monitoring capabilities and a dedicated healthcare team to support the customs brokerage and express transportation of vaccines and bioscience shipments around the world. Our healthcare team is well-versed in the transportation and handling of vaccine shipments. For more than a decade we have shipped flu vaccines each flu season.

With the largest cargo fleet of airplanes, FedEx Express has the flexibility and customized solutions, including charter flights, refrigerator trucks and trailers, warehousing, thermal blankets, and temperature-controlled containers, to help safely move temperature sensitive shipments, such as vaccines and other bioscience shipments, around the world.

Over the past three years, we have added more than 10 secure cold chain facilities across our global network. At present we have more than 90 cold chain facilities across the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe and plan to open additional facilities in coming years. To complement our existing cold chain capabilities in support of the vaccine distribution, we have added ultra-cold freezers, and enhanced our freezer and refrigerator capacity at strategic locations throughout the country over the past several months.

Working with the FAA, FedEx has significantly increased our capability to carry dry ice aboard our cargo aircraft, allowing us to service more healthcare shippers. On average, we now transport approximately 500,000 dry ice shipments a month.

In addition to the vaccines themselves, FedEx is also working closely with the healthcare industry to transport other supplies critical to the distribution of vaccines such as vials, syringes, and personal protective equipment."

Dry ice and freezer farms: Challenges of storing a COVID-19 vaccine

The freezers needed to properly store a COVID-19 vaccine are "almost like unicorns in health care," one doctor said. In the video above, see inside a cold chain center where the vaccine could be stored.

5 things to know about the Pfizer vaccine

What do we know about the vaccine and how will the timeline of distribution impact you? Hit play to learn more.

Follow Tom Abrahams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Follow Courtney Fischer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.