SMITHFIELD, VA. – A Smithfield Foods Inc. executive said recently that the company will offer to help public health officials store and distribute the forthcoming coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine using the freezers at its facilities.

“We do expect that, working with our health agency partners, we can facilitate the rapid distribution of the vaccine to food and agricultural workers,” said Keira Lombardo, chief administrative officer for Smithfield. “We stand ready as well to assist, as possible, with distribution to workers in other essential categories. Additionally, we have assessed our ultra-low freezer capabilities and capacity and are ready and willing to assist health agencies if storage capacity becomes constrained.”

US government and health officials are looking to secure or purchase freezers that can keep the Pfizer vaccine at the needed temperature of minus -94˚F (-70˚C). The Moderna vaccine can be stored -4˚F (-20˚C). 

“We continue to work with health agencies and expertise in the evolving response to the novel coronavirus,” Lombardo said. “As it becomes more clear that successful vaccines will become available, we have communicated our capabilities and continued willingness to partner with health officials, including with vaccine distribution and storage.”