A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Pfizer to ask Health Canada to adjust rules to say vaccine safe in regular freezers

Further testing shows the vaccine can remain stable for up to two weeks in temperatures between -15C and -25C

By Mia Rabson

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Pfizer and BioNTech say their COVID-19 vaccine can now safely be stored in regular freezers for up to two weeks, potentially easing some of the difficulty getting the vaccine distributed outside of major cities.

Pfizer’s vaccine has been the trickiest to handle because until now the companies said it had to be kept frozen between -60C and -80C until shortly before it is thawed and injected.

The companies asked the United States to adjust the vaccine’s emergency-use authorization to note the temperature change Friday and a Canadian spokeswoman says they intend to ask Health Canada to do so in the next few weeks.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Health Canada regulators are already in talks with the companies about the matter and will be ready to make a decision when the request comes.

Canada bought dozens of ultracold freezers to help provinces properly store the Pfizer vaccine and chose not to use this vaccine for the territories or other remote locations because of the freezer requirements.

In documents filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer and BioNTech say further testing shows the vaccine can remain stable for up to two weeks in temperatures between -15C and -25C, which is typical of more common freezers, including those used in pharmacies and medical clinics.

READ MORE: Health Canada authorizes use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

READ MORE: Data suggests Pfizer vaccine may be almost as good after 1 dose as 2

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Northern Health will start taking vaccination appointments for phase 2 rollout beginning March 8. (Black Press Media file photo)
Northern Health phase 2 vaccine rollout starts Monday

Coast Mountain College announced as mass vaccination clinic for Smithers

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Hazelton school COVID-19 closure extended one week

With spring break on horizon, Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary will be closed to end of March

BC CDC graphic showing weekly numbers of new cases by local health area.
Local health area records 11 new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 21 to 27

The Northwest has become the COVID hotspot in the province

The Smithers recycling depot was destroyed by fire May 9, 2019. (Thom Barker photo)
Curbside recycling pickup returns to Smithers

The Town will start collecting single stream, loose and clean residential recyclables April 12

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read