Since March 2020, which is when Pfizer started developing its candidate COVID-19 vaccine together with German biotech subsidiary BioNTech, the pharma giant has been preparing for a major logistics tour de force: the refrigerated storage and distribution of millions of vaccines. Within this logistics chain, two Pfizer sites are playing key roles: one in Kalamazoo (US) and one in Puurs (Flanders).
In Kalamazoo, Pfizer already houses 350 large storage freezers for vaccines on a site the size of an American football field. But the American company is expanding its capacity in Flanders to a much higher level. “We now have 325 storage freezers used to store vaccines until they are transported in containers with dry ice,” Colpaert explains. “By the beginning of 2021, that number will rise to about 700!”