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Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine can be stored at higher temperatures – Global News

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Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE have asked the U.S. 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.

Approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could send a strong signal to other regulators around the world that may ease distribution of the shot in lower-income countries.

The companies have submitted new temperature data to the FDA to support an update to the current label that would allow vials to be stored at -25 to -15 degrees Celsius (-13°F to 5°F) for a total of two weeks.

Read more:
Vaccine mix-and-match: U.K. to study efficacy of combining shots

The current label requires the vaccine to be stored at temperatures between -80ºC and -60ºC (-112ºF to -76ºF), meaning it has to be shipped in specially designed containers.

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The shot’s cold-storage requirements set off a scramble among U.S. states at the beginning of the rollout for dry ice, in which it can be stored temporarily when there are no specialized freezers available, for instance in rural areas.


Click to play video 'Pfizer-BioNTech say their COVID-19 vaccine can be stored in ‘normal’ freezer temperatures'



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Pfizer-BioNTech say their COVID-19 vaccine can be stored in ‘normal’ freezer temperatures


Pfizer-BioNTech say their COVID-19 vaccine can be stored in ‘normal’ freezer temperatures

Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the higher temepratures should “greatly expand the ability to use this vaccine in many parts of the world (or even the U.S.) that do not have the capacity for deep freeze storage.”

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Pfizer/BioNTech‘s vaccine, along with Moderna Inc’s two-dose shot, has already won U.S. emergency-use authorization and is being widely distributed as part of the country’s mass vaccination efforts.


Click to play video 'New data on effectiveness of single COVID-19 vaccine dose'



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New data on effectiveness of single COVID-19 vaccine dose


New data on effectiveness of single COVID-19 vaccine dose

The FDA confirmed that it had received Pfizer’s request and said changes to the vaccine’s authorization must be requested by a company and include data supporting the change. It said authorization would come either through a granting letter or a reissued letter of authorization, either of which would be posted on the regulator’s web site.

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The update from the drugmakers comes as two studies from Israel found that the vaccine greatly reduced virus transmission, and the shot was backed by two of the South African government’s top advisers.

The new data also will be submitted to global regulatory agencies within the next few weeks, the two companies said.

A BioNTech spokeswoman declined to provide more details on the timing and which agencies would be contacted.

“The data submitted may facilitate the handling of our vaccine in pharmacies and provide vaccination centers an even greater flexibility,” BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said.

Deutsche Post, which has shipped COVID-19 vaccines to several European countries, Israel, Bahrain, Mexico and Singapore, among other states, said -25 degrees would provide some relief but transportation would still not be easy.


Click to play video 'Health Canada approves extraction of six vaccine shots per Pfizer vial'



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Health Canada approves extraction of six vaccine shots per Pfizer vial


Health Canada approves extraction of six vaccine shots per Pfizer vial – Feb 9, 2021

A spokeswoman said air freight would likely no longer require dry ice on board, increasing storage capacity per plane.

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BioNTech has said it imposed long-term storage and transportation requirements of -70 degrees out of caution because it had started stability and durability tests on its vaccine relatively late.

Even though it launched its COVID-19 vaccine development program as early as January 2020, working on four compounds in parallel, it did not decide until July which of the four to proceed with, and only then started stability tests.

If approved, the less onerous storage requirements would provide significant logistical relief.

The World Health Organization’s COVAX global vaccine-sharing program has so far limited distribution of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to just a few countries, partly out of concern over a lack of infrastructure in developing nations.

Read more:
Canadian researchers insist Pfizer’s 1st dose effective enough to delay 2nd

The WHO said it was hopeful that eased requirements could broaden its reach.

“We are aware of reports of this and look forward to seeing the data. If proven correct, this could make rollout of the vaccine easier in all countries, and particularly in low-income ones,” it said.

Moderna’s product, which like Pfizer’s is based on so-called messenger RNA molecules, is already cleared for storage at -25 to -15 degrees Celsius.

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(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru, Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt, John Miller in Zurich, Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf, Michael Erman in Maplewood, N.J. and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Anil D’Silva, Jan Harvey and Nick Macfie)

© 2021 Reuters

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CPP Investments CEO Mark Machin resigns after travelling to UAE for COVID-19 vaccine – CTV News

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The chief executive of the fund that manages Canada Pension Plan investments has resigned after it was revealed that he decided to travel to the United Arab Emirates, where he arranged to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

CPP Investments said Friday that Mark Machin tendered his resignation after discussions with the board Thursday night.

The resignation comes after Machin on Thursday evening sent a memo to staff, in which he said he received a COVID-19 vaccination while on a “very personal” trip to Dubai.

Machin said in the email viewed by The Canadian Press that he remains in Dubai with his partner “for many reasons, some of which are deeply personal.”

“This was a very personal trip and was undertaken after careful consideration and consultation,” the memo reads.

The federal government is actively discouraging Canadians from travelling abroad and recently implemented stricter quarantine measures for those returning home.

Machin told staff he followed all travel protocols related to his role as head of the pension fund while on the trip.

“This trip was intended to be very private and I am disappointed it has become the focus of public attention and expected criticism,” he wrote.

Several politicians and health-care officials have become high profile flashpoints in recent months for leaving the country despite public health advice to the contrary.

Among them, the former CEO of the London Health Sciences Centre is now embroiled in litigation after his travel to the U.S. prompted the hospital to terminate his contract.

Rod Phillips, Ontario’s former finance minister, resigned from his post in late December after taking a personal trip to St. Barts.

A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said that while CPPIB is an independent organization, the revelation is “very troubling.”

“The federal government has been clear with Canadians that now is not the time to travel abroad,” Katherine Cuplinskas said in an emailed statement.

“We were not made aware of this travel and further questions should be directed to the CPPIB on this matter.”

CPP Investments said Friday it has no comment beyond the statement announcing Machin’s departure.

The fund’s board has appointed John Graham as its new CEO. Graham was its global head of credit investments.

CPP Investments, which had $475.7 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, invests money on behalf of retired and active employees covered by the Canada Pension Plan.

Machin joined CPP Investments in 2012 and was appointed president and chief executive in June 2016. Before joining the pension fund manager, he spent 20 years at investment bank Goldman Sachs.

“The board wishes to thank Mr. Machin for his global perspective, leadership and commitment to excellence and we offer him our sincere best wishes for the future.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021

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Machin out at CPPIB following trip abroad to get COVID vaccine – BNN

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Mark Machin resigned as head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board after he went to the United Arab Emirates and received a COVID-19 vaccine, defying guidance from Justin Trudeau’s government to avoid international travel.

“After discussions last evening with the board, Mr. Machin tendered his resignation and it has been accepted,” CPPIB said in a written statement Friday morning. John Graham was named to replace him as chief executive officer.

The office of Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland criticized Machin after the Wall Street Journal revealed the trip Thursday evening. Canada is still struggling to ramp up its own immunization campaign against the virus.

‘Very Troubling’

“While the CPPIB is an independent organization, this is very troubling,” Katherine Cuplinskas, a spokeswoman for Freeland, said by email. “The federal government has been clear with Canadians that now is not the time to travel abroad.”

The finance department was unaware of Machin’s trip, Cuplinskas said, referring further questions to the CPPIB.

Despite securing more doses per capita than any other nation, Canada has administered enough shots to vaccinate just 4.5 per cent of its population one time, compared with 29 per cent in the U.K. and 20.6 per cent in the U.S., according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. That’s because Canada has to import the vaccines, and shipments have lagged.

Travel Scandals

Recent public opinion has turned against officials who defy the government’s pleas to not leave the country: Rod Phillips, Ontario’s finance minister, was forced to resign on Dec. 31 after it was revealed he took a Caribbean vacation at a time when many businesses in the provinces were ordered to shut their doors to contain the virus.

With vaccine deliveries now accelerating after delays caused in part by export controls in the European Union, Trudeau maintains that every Canadian will be inoculated by the end of September.

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Canada Pension Plan chief resigns after getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in Dubai – CBC.ca

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The chief executive of the fund that manages Canada Pension Plan investments has resigned after it was revealed that he decided to travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where he arranged to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

CPP Investments says Mark Machin tendered his resignation to the board Thursday night.

The board has appointed John Graham as the new CEO.

The federal government is actively discouraging Canadians from travelling abroad and recently implemented strict quarantine measures for those returning home.

Several politicians and health-care officials have become high-profile flashpoints of public anger in recent months for leaving the country despite public health advice to the contrary.

Among them, the former CEO of the London Health Sciences Centre is now embroiled in litigation after his travel to the U.S. prompted the hospital to terminate his contract.

Rod Phillips, Ontario’s former finance minister, resigned from his post in late December after taking a personal trip to Saint Barthélemy, a Caribbean island popularly known as St. Barts.

CPP Investments, which had $475.7 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, invests money on behalf of retired and active employees covered by the Canada Pension Plan.

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