A Pfizer coronavirus vaccine that may achieve a remarkable 90% effective rate could be distributed as early as December, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who said delivery plans are decided by states.

Pfizer will soon submit for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, Azar said Tuesday on CBS This Morning, and millions of doses of the vaccine are already prepared.

“I’d be thinking in December we would be focusing on vaccinating the most vulnerable,” he said.

“Then by the end of January we would have enough for all our health care workers and first responders and by the end of March or early April we should have enough for all Americans,” Azar said.

On Monday, Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine may be 90% effective based on early and incomplete test results that brought on a surge of hope and optimism.

The Pfizer vaccine is being tested across the country, including at Boston Medical Center and UMass Memorial Medical Center.

The federal government leads distribution of the vaccine, but governors will decide who gets the vaccine first within their state.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday said, “We formed a vaccine advisory group a few months ago and that group developed a vaccine delivery plan which has been submitted to the federal government. When the time comes, Massachusetts will be ready to distribute a vaccine.”

One key factor makes delivery of the vaccine a challenge: it must be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit or below, requiring dry ice and what’s known as a cold “chain.”

Marc Sabenor, owner of Acme Dry Ice in Cambridge, said, “We are definitely involved with the vaccine,” but wouldn’t disclose which ones in particular.

“We are definitely meeting the demand and we are gearing up for the vaccine to come out. We are ready and we have a great surplus, a great supply chain of CO2,” Sabenor said.

He said, “We are playing a very big part in the COVID vaccine supply chain and we are very proud of it.”


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