First shipment of Pfizer vaccines set to arrive in cities across the country Monday morning

There was a historic delivery in the city of Louisville on Sunday that some are calling a pandemic landmark.
Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 10:07 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There was a historic delivery in the city of Louisville on Sunday that some are calling a pandemic landmark.

The first COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines arrived at the UPS Worldport facility around 12:30 pm.

“We are now working with the U.S. government, and some of our partners, and even some of our competitors as a team as Operation Warp Speed to really deliver a gift to the American people,” UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler said.

The plane carrying the vaccines from the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Mich,. stopped in Lansing, Mich., then made its way to Louisville delivering two containers filled with boxes weighing 70 pounds, including the 50 pounds of dry ice alongside the vaccines to keep the doses at ultra-cold temperatures.

”Pfizer has decided to transport them and store them at -70 degrees Celsius,” Wheeler said. After arrival, a small team of UPS workers unloaded the two containers in less than an hour.

Brady Rischer, a UofL student, was among the group excited to be a part of history.

”They just came up and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be one of the few people unloading the vaccines for us,” Rischer said. “You know, that’s pretty monumental for us.”

Another young student, Hannah Elble, also was grateful to be on the frontlines.

”I feel like we’re bringing the essential to life, the part of essential workers,” Elble said. “It’s crazy that instead of being home and quarantining, I’m out here really frontline contributing to such a good cause. Honestly it feels great.”

Now, the vaccines will be distributed nationwide with thousands of doses staying in the city of Louisville. Norton is scheduled to get 2,000 doses in this first shipment, where UofL health is expected to receive 975, where healthcare workers at high risk get it first.

“This is the first time as a medical community we’ve got the ability to impact the course of this virus other than just managing and supporting the patients who get it,” UofL Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith told WAVE 3 News.

The total number of doses and specific locations of delivery were not given, but UPS’s Health Care president said all locations will receive vaccines by 10:30 a.m. Monday.

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