Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) announced today that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved storage of COMIRNATY® at -25°C to -15°C for a total of two weeks based on data showing the stability at these temperatures in standard pharmaceutical freezers. The new data is a testament to the companies’ ongoing commitment to developing this vaccine further and collecting data in order to support broader and more flexible vaccine distribution and inoculation.
With this approval, the COMIRNATY vials can be stored in all 27 European Union (EU) member states at these updated temperatures for a total of two weeks alternatively to the storage at ultra-low temperatures. It marks an important milestone in the vaccine roll-out, as it could allow storage in pharmacies to support vaccinations at local practices/doctors’ offices. By enabling more individuals to store and administer the vaccine, the approval will help broaden access, while limiting strain on larger vaccination centers.
“From the beginning our goal was to make our vaccine broadly available to people around the world. This approval by the EMA will enable us to access important additional channels to distribute and administer our vaccine,” said Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech. “It comes at an important point in time, as governments now have more flexibility to move from inoculations in vaccination centers to a more decentralized vaccine roll-out through local doctors and general practitioners to accelerate our path out of the pandemic.”
“We appreciate the collaboration with the EMA and other regulatory agencies around the world as we work to ensure our vaccine can be shipped and stored under increasingly flexible conditions,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “This new storage option in Europe will help make the vaccine even more accessible to people across the continent, another important step as we continue our global fight against this virus.”