FDA approves standard freezing temperatures for Pfizer vaccines

Food and Drug Administration approves storage and transportation of Pfizer vaccine at standard freezer temperatures.

Ben Ariel ,

Pfizer vaccine
Pfizer vaccine

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday approved storage and transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech at standard freezer temperatures for up to two weeks instead of ultra-cold conditions, Reuters reported.

The approval comes a week after the companies asked the US health regulator to relax requirements for their COVID-19 vaccine to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, potentially allowing it to be kept in pharmacy freezers.

In December, the FDA granted emergency use authorization to the vaccine and current label to be stored at temperatures between -80 degrees Celsius and -60 degrees Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit to -76 Fahrenheit), meaning it has to be shipped in specially designed containers.

Earlier on Thursday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company is examining the possibility of adding a third dose to its coronavirus vaccine protocol.

In an interview with NBC News, Bourla said he hopes that a third dose will offer even better protection against coronavirus variants.

Two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine were shown last year to have 95% efficacy, and more recently, a study by Israel's largest health fund, Clalit, showed that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have 94% efficacy.

Studies on the third dose will monitor both its safety and its efficacy, in subjects ages 18 to 55 and in subjects ages 65-85, who were part of the company's initial Phase 1 and 2 trials.

The third dose will be the same as the first two doses, the company said.