American Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced this week that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate has performed extremely well in their clinical trials. It was announced that the potential vaccine was effective for more than 90% and had no serious side-effects. This is undoubtedly a reassuring sign that the months of global investment and hard work on vaccines to protect people against the virus might indeed pay off.
Pfizer has selected its site in Puurs (Flanders) as their main production center in Europe for the COVID-19 vaccine, developed by US drug giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech. Pfizer Puurs and the Pfizer Kalamazoo are both equipped with vast football-pitch-sized facilities including the hundreds of large freezers to store the vaccine, which must be stored at -70C (-94F).
Pfizer has a long history of top-notch production in Flanders. The facility in Puurs, which Pfizer obtained in 2003, is the company’s largest manufacturing site in Europe. Since then, it has been the scene of numerous investments. “These investments are a clear indicator of Pfizer’s vision of Flanders as an attractive location for high-tech production,” comments Luc Van Steenwinkel, Managing Director of Pfizer in Puurs.
The Mayor of Puurs-Sint-Amands, Koen Van den Heuvel, explains that the people in charge at the headquarters of Pfizer know that every task given to their Puurs facility will result in success. “Together with our Pfizer site in the US, we expect to fully load 24 trucks every day,” explains Koen Colpaert, Communications Lead at Pfizer Puurs. As such, the two sites will transport 7.6 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine per day.
As a European hub for the production and storage of millions of COVID-19 vaccines, the production site of American pharma giant Pfizer in Flanders will more than double its number of vaccine storage freezers by early 2021. At least 700 vaccine freezers will be present at Pfizer in Puurs. That means that millions, if not billions of doses of vaccines against COVID 19, will be stored in freezers at Pfizer in Flanders. All this will prove a logistical challenge that governments all over the world are preparing for.
FUN FACT: In recognition of its dedication to Flanders, Pfizer received the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Trophy at the annual Foreign Investment Trophy event of Flanders Investment & Trade.