As of Saturday December 12th here is the latest vaccine distribution timeline and information including when the Pfizer vaccine will begin shipping, how it will be shipped, when we can expect the first shots, and who will get them. On Friday evening, the FDA gave the green light to the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use authorization
Saturday December 12th
The Vaccine is Packaged in Michigan
The first Pfizer vaccines were made at Pfizer's plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan plant. They are being packaged there. To ship its vaccine, Pfizer designed specialized containers packed with enough dry ice to keep a minimum of 975 doses cool for up to 10 days. Each comes with a tracking device. UPS and FedEx will split the original distribution.
Sunday December 13th
The Vaccine Leaves The Plant
According to Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, vaccines will leave Kalamazoo both by air and ground on Sunday morning heading to UPS and FedEx regional hubs. It is planned that the "first" vaccines will leave by a plane or planes on standby in Kalamazoo. After these original flights, distribution will go by ground to the UPS and FedEx hubs.
UPS's closest hub (which is also their main hub) is in Louisville, Kentucky — 5 hour drive due south from Kalamazoo, passing through Indianapolis. UPS also has a hub in Chicago, 2 hours away, so some of the ground shipping may go directly there.
FedEx's closest regional hub is in Indianapolis, 3 hours from Kalamazoo. FedEx's main hub is in Memphis, 8 hours from Kalamazoo. It is likely FedEx will do a combination of initial flights from both of these hubs.
FedEx Planes Depart From Indianapolis To Around the US
From Indianapolis, it is likely FedEx planes will go to their 5 other regional hubs first - Newark, NJ in the Northeast; Oakland, CA on the West Coast, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, Anchorage, AK; and their primary hub in Memphis, TN.
From these regional hubs, the vaccines will continue by both ground and air to their destinations, depending on the distance, completing the network to every single US state and territory.
UPS Planes Depart From Louisville to Around the US
From Louisville, it is likely UPS planes will also go to their 3 other regional hubs first - Philadelphia, PA in the Northeast, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, and Ontario, CA, just east of Los Angeles. There other regional hub, Chicago, is 2 hours from Kalamazoo, so they may originate distribution via their ground network there.
According to Pfizer, they will utilize GPS-enabled thermal sensors with a control tower that will track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment across their pre-set routes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These GPS-enabled devices will allow Pfizer to proactively prevent unwanted deviations and act before they happen.
Monday December 14th
145 Sites Receive the Vaccine
According to Gustave Perna, 145 sites will receive the vaccine by Monday. These are sites that each state has identified and will include every state. All packages will come with support kits to help with administering the vaccine and most importantly, keeping the vaccine frozen at the required specifications.
The First People Receive the Vaccine
It's expected that the first vaccine shots will go into people's arms on Monday. The CDC has identified both health care workers and those in nursing home facilities as the two groups that will be vaccinated first. In terms of how these groups will be queued for the vaccine, it is up to the state health departments to make that determination.
Tuesday December 15th
Additional 425 Sites Receive the Vaccine
On Tuesday, over 400 sites will get their first vaccine packages and be able to start administering the vaccine.
Wednesday December 16th
Additional 66 Sites Receive the Vaccine
On Wednesday, another 66 sites will receive vaccine shipments, bringing the three-day total to over 636 locations in every US state and territory.
Wednesday December 23rd
Vaccinations Pass 600,000
As of Wednesday, more than 614,000 people have received the vaccine, mostly healthcare workers. The federal government has delivered enough vaccines for 4.6 million people to receive a first dose so far, enough for about 1% of the population. A deal was reached today for the federal government to purchase another 100 million doses from Pfizer.
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