Dry ice producers prepare for COVID-19 vaccine transport

While Pfizer announcement offers hope, health officials still face plenty of vaccine obstacles
Posted at 8:50 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 23:24:56-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The workers at the Nashville branch of NexAir will have a lot to do with how quickly you can get a COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available.

The company produces dry ice, especially in pellet form, that will be used to ship the Pfizer vaccine and keep it at its required storage temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit.

NexAir is gearing up for the demand.

"We've invested in several more dry ice boxes, several more truckloads because we anticipate the demand to be over and above our normal customer level so we have to have the containers, something to put it in," said Steve Atkins with NexAir.

NexAir says demand for its dry ice usually drops after the holidays because people aren’t shipping perishable items. But this year, that will be right at peak shipping time for the vaccine.

"We are going to be shifting all that volume to support the COVID vaccine shipments," Atkins said.

But NexAir says making detailed plans is difficult because they don’t know just how big the demand for dry ice will be, or for how long.

"We are preparing right now to work extra hours to produce ice, we’ve got a crew lined up to work extra hours at our plant here in Memphis this weekend," Atkins said.

Meaning for the next several months this dry ice company will be keeping their cool keeping the COVID vaccine coming.