United Airlines has already begun flying Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine into position — including trips to and from locations in the U.S. and Europe — in anticipation of approval by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators, according to a report.
The first charter flights are part of Pfizer’s efforts to move quickly once approvals are granted, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Pfizer has final vaccine assembly centers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and in Puurs, Belgium, and runs distribution storage sites in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and Karlsruhe, Germany, the paper said.
Pfizer declined to comment on the WSJ report.
The FAA said in a statement to the paper on Friday that it is supporting the “first mass air shipment of a vaccine,” and is working with other airlines on vaccine transportation.
The agency told the paper it would allow United to fly five times more dry ice than is usually permitted — 15,000 pounds per flight — to keep the vaccine at the extremely chilled temperature it needs to prevent spoiling.
The first approvals for the Pfizer vaccine are expected to come from Europe, including in the UK.
The pharmaceutical company sought emergency FDA approval on Nov. 20.