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This week Pfizer plans to file for emergency approval of its coronavirus vaccine. The company said it’s 95 percent effective and has no major side effects – but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to get it to the public.
Reason being, the vaccine needs to be kept extremely cold. So much so, the company said in a press release that it has developed temperature-controlled thermal shippers. They’re filled with dry ice – which is where companies like Roberts Oxygen come in.
Since the Pfizer news broke, the Rockville-based company has heard from area hospitals a lot.
“Definitely a 50 to 75 percent increase in calls,” Reggie Wright, the regional stores manager for the Washington D.C. area said Thursday.
It’s because Roberts is capable of producing roughly 3200 pounds of dry ice per hour, just at its Gaithersburg plant. Vice President of Sales Scott Van Pelt said the company will absolutely increase production due to the demand, although he wasn’t sure by how much.
“We really don’t know the percentages yet,” Van Pelt told FOX 5. “It’s the very early stages of this so a lot of hospitals are reaching out just to make sure that we have the ability to produce it, and that’s really where it is right now. More information’s to come.”
But any way you stack it, employees of the family-owned business that’s been around since 1966 are more than happy to help.
“We’re all in this together,” Wright said. “So it just feels good to be able to help the nation and help patients in this situation that we’re in.”