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Pfizer seeks to store vaccine at higher temperatures, easing logistics (reuters.com)
23 points by based2 16 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 11 comments

The first mention of this I saw was in a New Zealand press conference, where the reporter asked about Pfizer maybe being stored at new lower temperatures, and for me it underscored that we should teach people absolute temperature (ie Kelvin, there is an absolute version of the Fahrenheit scale but you've got no reason to adopt that). If you see the storage temperature rules change from 210K to 255K it's immediately obvious this is a higher temperature, whereas some people will think -20°C is lower than -65°C

The professional they were asking questions of was careful to correct them by saying it's "warmer" rather than just snapping that it's actually "higher" temperature - because this way sidesteps the confusion, but it'd be easier to just not have that problem at all.

>whereas some people will think -20°C is lower than -65°C

I believe this can happen in the US, but hardly in any place where people are used to Celsius.

I have experienced -30C in Germany and Norway, and -40C in Russia. Even in the mountain in Spain you can get -20C. People have -18C in the freezer.

It is obvious for people what 0C is: water freezes, and that is something that everybody experiences today just using a refrigerator.

But most people are not used to what K means. Only for scientists and maybe engineers is obvious, but you need a lot of things to know before it is easy to understand.

Is the concept of negative numbers really a problem for people to grasp? If yes, then we should teach that instead of using Kelvin to make it easier for them to know which number is bigger.

It's not so much negative numbers as it is remembering the implicit sign flip when combining "more/increase/less/decrease" with "hotter/colder".

Literally the whole Celsius-using world manages it fine.

I wouldn't be surprised if many people do have trouble with communicating negative temperatures. Many people have trouble with timezones and clearly communicating generally.

It’s a good point. I think most people think “warmer” if they hear “higher temperatures”

I bet Biontech / Pfizer will find ways to store and handle it under conditions suitable for general doctors as soon as Johnson's and other less temp sensitive vaccines are available. And doctors are actively vaccinating.

The reason Biontech did not do that earlier was because the tests to analyze the effect of temperature take months to do, 2 to 3 months.

So they started vaccinating people without delaying it 3 months because it was an emergency. But after 3 months of testing we will be able to know how temperature storage affects the vaccine.

This makes no sense. Their competition from week 2 at least, Moderna and Oxford, were already capable of transport and storage at regular freezer temps.

Johnson and Johnson doesn’t add easier temps to the mix. It adds the fact that it’s a single dose vaccine to the environment.

If you did think it was competitive pressure that was driving it then you should be suspicious about the Israeli studies that show that a single dose of thrnPfizer vaccine is 85% effective upto 4 months later.

Depends where you are. In Europe, we have Biontech and AZ. Thanks to aggressive PR and media campaigns, nobody wants AZ in Germany.

Even the surplus AZ doses are just sitting in storage, official centers don't use them if you are not eligible yet. Even if that means less people are getting shots. As soon as doctors are jumping in, that will change. We also have, quite likely, an incredible amount or surplus doses come Q2, early Q3.

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