By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine must be stored at extremely cold temperatures. Pfizer uses thermal shippers for the vaccine that can be used as temporary storage units by refilling with dry ice every five days for up to 30 days of storage.

(credit: CBS)

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City Ice is one of the places in the Denver area that is making it available to hospitals. Mario Asehan showed CBS4’s Rick Sallinger their supply of dry ice.

“Right here we got a little bit over 16 containers of dry ice. We got three types, pellets which are basically mini packing peanuts of dry ice, and then we got 10-pound blocks and 5-pound blocks.”

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at super subzero temperatures, down to minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 10 days. Then it can be stored in hospital refrigerators at 17 degrees Fahrenheit.

(credit: CBS)

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The dry ice is meant to keep the vaccine and other items cold, but if you touch it you will get burned.

Dry ice is made by liquefying carbon dioxide and injecting it into a holding tank, where it’s frozen at a temperature of -109° F and compressed into solid ice. Those who make it have seen business boom.

David Hanchette is the general manager of a dry ice facility in the Kansas City area, Cee Kay Supply. He said those who deal with dry ice have seen business increase, not just with the vaccine, but since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“We got busy when the COVID pandemic hit. People started changing their behaviors and shopping online more,” Hanchette said.

(credit: CBS)

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The pellet form is used most commonly to store and ship the vaccine. Dry ice is commonly used in many industries, from removing skin imperfections to making ice cream.

Rick Sallinger