Pfizer vaccine requirements leads to calls for local dry ice plant

JOPLIN, Mo. – Cee Kay Supply is the only dry ice manufacturer in the State of Missouri. It has three locations which are Kansas City, St. Louis and Joplin. Lately, this company has been getting extra attention.

“We’ve been getting some calls from hospitals, local hospitals in the Joplin area. We’ve also been getting some calls from the health departments and since we’re kinda the only dry ice manufacturer in the area, a lot of them have found us,” explained David Hanchette, General Manager of Dry Ice for Cee Kay Supply.handling vaccine

Most of Cee Kay’s ice is used for food packaging, but because Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored in extremely cold temperatures (-70°C, that’s about 100 degrees below Fahrenheit) in order to protect the stability of the messenger RNA, there’s more interest coming from the medical community.

“From a waste standpoint, we want to always have redundancy in storage to make sure that we would be able to manage ourselves through an issue with cold storage,” said Sarah Boyd, Director of Pharmacy for

Moderna’s vaccine is a bit more flexible.

“It does not require that ultra cold storage so it will be stored in the freezer, and then it also has stability in the refrigerator. So it will be a very nice option for our retail pharmacies and long-term care facilities for sure,” Boyd stated.

During the summer, falling gas prices impacted the availability of liquid CO2. This led to a dry ice shortage as manufacturers struggled to get carbon dioxide, a byproduct of ethanol. But, now, things are back on track.

“Some of those ethanol plants started curtailing their production a little bit which caused a shortage of CO2, but we’ve kinda gotten past that. This time of year, there’s typically a slight decline in demand for dry ice so we don’t really anticipate there’s gonna be an issue with helping supply some of the dry ice for the vaccine,” said Hanchette.

Mercy is equipped with an ultra cold 25 cubit foot freezer that has the capability to maintain thousands of doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

So far, more than 500 Mercy employees have been vaccinated.