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Pfizer Kicks Off Pilot Delivery Program for Covid-19 Vaccine

Pfizer launches a pilot delivery program for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine in four U.S. states as the drugmaker seeks to address distribution challenges.

Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report kicked off a pilot delivery program for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine in four U.S. states as the drugmaker seeks to address distribution challenges posed by the vaccine's ultra-cold storage requirements.

In a statement on Monday, Pfizer said it chose Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee for the program after taking into account their differences in overall size, diversity of populations, immunization infrastructure, and need to reach individuals in varied urban and rural settings.

“We are hopeful that results from this vaccine delivery pilot will serve as the model for other U.S. states and international governments, as they prepare to implement effective Covid-19 vaccine programs,” Pfizer said in the statement.

The four selected states won't receive vaccine doses earlier than other states by virtue of the pilot, nor will they receive any differential consideration, Pfizer said.

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The announcement comes a week after Pfizer and partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report revealed that their phase 3 Covid-19 trial vaccine was more than 90% effective at preventing Covid-19, and a day after Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report announced that its own Covid-19 experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective - lifting hopes that the virus which as of Monday has killed more than 247,229 U.S. citizens can be contained.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a technology called synthetic messenger RNA to activate the immune system against the virus. However, Pfizer’s vaccine must be shipped and stored at -70 degrees Celsius (minus 94°F), posing logistical challenges.

Pfizer and BioNTech have a $1.95 billion deal to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine to the U.S. government once it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with an option for the government to acquire up to an additional 500 million doses.

Shares of Pfizer were up 2.16% at $36.15 in trading on Tuesday.