Kansas City dry ice manufacturer to assist with COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Cee Kay Dry Ice General Manager David Hanchette
Posted at 10:14 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 23:33:16-05

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An independent committee has started reviewing Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine trial data to determine if the vaccine should be recommended for Federal Drug Administration approval next month.

If it receives the green light, the vaccine must be kept in sub-zero temps to remain viable.

Locally, Cee Kay supply is the only manufacturer of dry ice in Missouri.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, business has picked up with more people having food shipped to their homes. And in recent weeks, general manager of Dry Ice, David Hanchette, has been busy handling calls from more potential clients.

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"Some of the local health departments, some hospitals," Hanchette said.

With COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, distributions plans are well underway.

"Some haven’t really used it much before and [are] just trying to get an idea of the availability of it, how it’s stored," Hanchette said.

Pfizer's vaccine, one of the frontrunners, requires an ultra-cold distribution chain from beginning to end.

RELATED: KC metro could be hub for vaccine storage and distribution

Hanchette said Pellets will be the most common form of dry ice used in the vaccine storage. In its solid state, dry ice is -109.3 degrees. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at more than 90 degrees below zero.

"It's just going to be a matter of, you know, having enough CO2 and enough containers to get all the demand," Hanchette said.

While demand currently is unclear, Pfizer expects to make about 50 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020, and more than 1 billion doses next year.

"If there's a need in some rural areas or towns, you know, we're gonna have to get creative on how we get dry ice to those areas," Hanchette said.

It's a task this 72-year-old family business is ready for while facing the challenge of a lifetime.

"This whole year, there's been a lot of people that have suffered and had, and, if we can help get the vaccine out to the public faster, that's something we're really excited about as a company," Hanchette said.

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