Pfizer seeks approval to ease handling of vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech said Friday their COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures. They’re asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to allow their vaccine to be stored in freezers at pharmacies instead of ultra-cold storage facilities.

They’ve submitted data to support a proposed update to the current label for emergency use authorization of the vaccine so that storage rules could be changed. Their proposal would allow vaccine vials to be stored at -13 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks. The current label requires the vaccine to be stored at -112 to -76 degrees Fahrenheit – temperatures that require an ultra-cold freezer.

Such a change in the handling of the vaccine would make it significantly more accessible, especially in developing countries that lack the necessary infrastructure.

The two companies said they will submit the new data to global regulators within the next few weeks.

Separately, two Israeli studies have found that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine greatly reduces transmission of the virus.

Also on Friday: Johnson & Johnson said it had submitted data to the World Health Organization for emergency use listing of its one-dose vaccine.