NEW YORK (NEXSTAR) — Pfizer announced Monday the launch of a coronavirus immunization pilot program involving four states to help with planning vaccine delivery and deployment. Last week, Pfizer announced its vaccine candidate looks to be 90% effective.
The four states, which include Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico and Tennessee, were chosen for the U.S. COVID-19 Immunization Pilot Program because of their differences in size, population and immunization infrastructure. Though the states were chosen to help refine a plan for the delivery, deployment and administration of Pfizer’s vaccine candidate, they will not receive the vaccine earlier than other states nor is there actual vaccine involved in the trial program, the pharmaceutical company said.
“This pilot program and our collaboration with U.S. and state officials will help us prepare for broader vaccine deployment in the near future, subject to authorization or approval, as we work to address this urgent public health need,” Angela Hwang, Group President, Pfizer Bio Group President, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group, said in a statement.
The vaccine must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, presenting a distribution challenge. The company said it will take what it learns in the pilot program and adapt it to other states across the country.
“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,” Hwang said.
The company is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In July, Pfizer and BioNTech announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense to start the delivery of 300 million vaccine doses in 2021.