The Big Problem with the Pfizer Vaccine

Pfizer vaccine

The FDA will decide this week on whether to grant emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine. Next week, it will make a similar decision on the Moderna vaccine. 

I expect approvals for both the Moderna vaccine and Pfizer vaccine.

That will be the easy part. The tough part is logistics.

These vaccines present unique logistical challenges. That’s because the vaccines need to be distributed worldwide at the ultra-low temperatures needed to keep them stable.

Think about the big picture for a moment. . . .

The Pfizer vaccine is being transported via planes and trucks from a Pfizer production facility in Belgium to the rest of the world. Specially built boxes can store 1,000 to 5,000 doses at the necessary temperature of minus 94°F for up to 10 days. These can be tracked via GPS.

Meanwhile, the vaccine developed by Moderna also must be stored at subzero temperatures. The only difference is the temperature – at minus 4°F.

I think the shipping companies are getting a handle on this.

UPS has ramped up dry ice production capacity to 1,200 pounds per hour. It is also providing freezers that can maintain temperatures between minus 4°F and minus 112°F.

FedEx has readied more than 5,000 distribution centers, 80,000 delivery vehicles and 670 planes to support the distribution effort.

United Airlines – with support from the FA A – is flying the Pfizer vaccine from Pfizer’s Belgium plant to Chicago. American Airlines is conducting trial flights from Florida to South America to “stress test” the packaging and handling process.

Yet, only 15% of carriers feel prepared to transport the Pfizer vaccine at the necessary temperature, according to a survey by industry groups cited by Reuters.

And other infrastructure is needed to ship and store the vaccines at the necessary temperatures.

Few countries have that capacity in place now. This is leading to a global scramble to build a cold chain that is up to the task.

Let’s hope all are up to the task.      

The Big News

Face Masks Do Work

Face masks helped reduce the number of new Covid-19 infections in Germany by around 47% 20 days after they became mandatory. This is from a new study that compared data from 401 German municipal districts that made mask-wearing compulsory at different times.  The study found the most dramatic drops in infection rates were seen in the largest cities.     

Will a Covid Stimulus Bill Get Done?

President Trump and Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, have suggested they will come “on board” with a $908 billion proposal from a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The aim is to get our economy through the current tough period in the pandemic. A final version of the bill could come this week. But much skepticism remains about whether anything will happen.  

Two Hot IPOs This Week

Two companies – both greatly affected by the pandemic – are coming public this week. DoorDash and Airbnb debut on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Both companies have raised their valuation targets significantly recently. This is all part of a flurry of tech deal making that some say resembles the dot-com mania.            

Marijuana Going Legit?

The cannabis industry has also been greatly affected by the pandemic. Last week, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs reclassified cannabis. It was removed from the most dangerous drug category. This followed the passage of marijuana ballot initiatives in several states last month. Currently, there are 36 states where medical use of marijuana is legal. And 15 states now allow recreational use of marijuana.

Coronavirus Boosts E-Commerce

E-commerce has been a lifeline for both businesses and consumers during the pandemic. Now, the holiday season is testing the shipping industry as never before. An estimated three billion packages will course through the nation’s shipping infrastructure. That is about 800 million more packages than last year.     

The Coronavirus Numbers

Here are the numbers from Monday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:

  • 67,178,542 Infected Worldwide
  • 1,537,975 Deaths
  • 14,761,732 Infected in the U.S.
  • 282,345 Deaths in the U.S.

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What’s Next

U.S. stocks roared to a new record high on Friday. The S&P 500 climbed 0.9% to 3,699, closing at the highs of the day.

A lackluster jobs report showing just 245,000 jobs were created last month lifted stocks.

And it pushed up bond yields. There was some serious curve steepening action on Friday. The US 10-year yield rallied above 0.98%. The spread between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury bonds is now at its highest level in almost three years.

The thinking is that the data should incentivize Congress to pass a stimulus bill this year.

In other words, bad news is good news again. For now, markets are happy to look ahead to stimulus bridging the worst of the crisis until vaccines like the Pfizer vaccine drive economic recovery in 2021.

That means any market weakness will be short-lived.

Meanwhile, the  #1  biotech to buy now is going public. And shares could surge 454% after its huge IPO.

Yours in Health & Wealth,

Tony Daltorio

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