First mass shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrives in US

United Airlines carried the first mass air shipment of COVID-19 vaccines last week from Brussels to Chicago, CNBC reported. 

Drugmakers and airlines are preparing for distribution of the vaccine before an FDA authorization. United was carrying Pfizer's vaccine candidate, according to CNBC. Pfizer submitted an application for emergency approval to the FDA Nov. 20, and the agency is expected to discuss it in a Dec. 10 meeting. 

The United flight had received special approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to carry more dry ice than is typically allowed on planes to accommodate Pfizer's ultra-low temperature storage requirements, CNBC reported. 

American Airlines started trial flights last week as well, to "stress test the thermal packaging and operational handling process we have created for shipping vaccines," a spokesperson told CNBC

The FAA has formed a team to address vaccine transportation. 

"The FAA is working with manufacturers, air carriers and airport authorities to provide guidance on implementing current regulatory requirements for safely transporting large quantities of dry ice in air cargo," the FAA told CNBC

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