Pharma CEO describes process of keeping COVID vaccine safe

When the COVID-19 vaccine gets to Central Florida, workers are going to have to handle it properly, or experts say it could all go bad.

Todd McLaughlin runs the Orlando-based pharmaceutical company Profounda. He said the vaccine needed special packaging, and demonstrated using a box that needed similar refrigeration.

MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccine: Your Questions Answered on FOX 35

“The minus-80 would be in a much bigger box, even if the internal content is the same, there's much more packing because you have to keep it at a lower temp for a longer period of time,” McLaughlin said.

Inside, he showed a special computer chip that measured the box’s constant temperature from start to finish.

“In this case,” he said, “they basically put a USB-drive that you start at the initial part of shipping the product and records temp every 10 minutes and at the end when you receive the package you take it out and make sure there's been no temperature excursions beyond the range you're looking for.”

He said the COVID-19 vaccine had very specific parameters for its temperature.

“The product itself is good at minus-80 for about 30 days. Before you use it, you basically have to bring it to refrigerator temp, like you take meat from the freezer to thaw out. Then it's good for five days at that minus-2 or minus-6 degree temperature.”

McLaughlin said once the vaccine had thawed it can't be re-frozen. He does think that some doses will go bad because they haven't been used in time and workers will have to throw them away.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.