PORTAGE, Mich. – Workers at the Pfizer manufacturing facility in Portage filled boxes of the first authorized COVID-19 vaccine through the night into Sunday morning.
Getting the vaccine delivered across the country is an enormous task.
Portage is a city in Kalamazoo County and two hours away from Detroit. What is produced inside the plant will have an impact on millions of Americans.
Boxes are being packed with dry ice and GPS trackers because temperature and time are critical.
“Distribution has begun. Right now boxes are being packed and loaded with vaccine with emphasis on quality control,” said Gen. Gus Perna, Chief Operation Officer of Operation Warp Speed.
“We have worked with Pfizer, McKesson, UPS, Fedex, and federal and local law enforcement agencies to ensure safety and security of the vaccine.”
Through the plan called Operation Warp Speed, a total of 636 hospitals and clinics across the states will receive the vaccine this upcoming week.
Perna said Saturday that shipping companies UPS and FedEx will deliver Pfizer’s vaccine to nearly 150 state locations. Another 450 sites will get the vaccine on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It all starts with Pfizer employees packaging the doses, pulling them from freezing temperatures, placing them in special boxes and then shipping them to the places needed the most.
Dry ice will have to keep every box at below freezing temperatures. Each container will weigh around 80 pounds and carry nearly 5,000 doses.
But that is just the first step in multiple waves of America’s vaccination.
“Each week that follows we will have more doses ready for allocation and distribution,” said Perna.
Fedex and UPS will be transporting the medicine all throughout the nation by road and air. UPS is directly responsible for brining the vaccine to the Detroit.
“It is so important that all vaccine that is available is utilized as a shot in the arm and nothing is wasted. This is our sole focus, every single day, every waking minute that we have,” added Perna.