Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is one step closer to reaching Canadian soil, according to UPS Canada.
On Friday, UPS Canada shared what they said are the first images of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine being processed in Germany and ready for delivery in Canada.
Health Canada announced its approval of the vaccine Wednesday after reviewing clinical trial data submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech.
The initial batch of 30,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is set to arrive in Canada on Monday, after passing through Belgium, Germany and the United States.
UPS Canada took to Twitter to show the images, saying the vaccine doses were being prepped in Cologne, Germany on Friday and ready for delivery to selected sites in Canada next week.
“1st images of the Pfizer vaccine being processed in Cologne, Germany for delivery to select sites in Canada next week. We are ready to make one of the most important deliveries in our 45 year history in Canada,” the tweet read.
The first doses left a factory in Belgium on Friday. The shipment had stopovers scheduled in Germany and Kentucky.
This week, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, appointed vice-president of operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada to run the vaccine rollout, said after the first doses leave Belgium on Friday, he anticipates they will arrive at 14 delivery sites in Canada three days later.
Fortin said Pfizer has hired UPS to ship the doses to Canada, and once they arrive on the ground here, there is also some road transportation to get to the final locations.
It is expected to take one or two days after the vaccines arrive before the injections start, as the doses arrive frozen and must be thawed and diluted before being administered.
The Pfizer vaccine’s temperature requirements are the most difficult of any of the proposed coronavirus vaccines, as they have to be kept at temperatures between -60 C and -80 C until just before injection.
All the doses will be packed in special boxes with thermal and location sensors. If any box warms too much, its doses will be segregated and likely thrown out, according to Health Canada.
Every province has identified at least one initial delivery site — with two each in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia — mainly hospitals. The initial injections will be done in the same locations. As the provinces grow more comfortable with the process and more doses begin to arrive, the Pfizer vaccine is to be delivered at 205 identified sites.
— With files from the Canadian Press