Why Dippin' Dots Could Be The United States' Secret Weapon In The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan

Photo: M-Foto / Shutterstock
COVID-19 vaccine

Dippin' Dots: the hero we needed, but definitely did NOT see coming. 

It’s no secret that the United States recently approved two separate vaccines for emergency use in the ongoing and (seemingly never-ending) battle against the novel coronavirus

While frontline workers, doctors, nurses, the elderly, and some politicians have been the first to receive the vaccine, there’s still the question of how it will be stored and widely distributed to the rest of the country over the next year. 

And now, a company that’s responsible for introducing the world to futuristic, tiny freeze-dried balls of ice cream — otherwise known as Dippin’ Dots — may be a key player in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. 

The Dippin’ Dots vaccine storage and distribution plan — what you need to know:

Read on to find out what to know about Dippin’ Dots' and how the company could be a game-changer in the way vaccines are stored and distributed throughout the United States.

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Two vaccines have been approved for emergency use in the United States.

So far, two coronavirus vaccines have been approved for use in the United States: Moderna and Pfizer. 

While that’s great news, scientists and medical personnel are running into a potential storage issue with the vaccines — even if the vaccines are delivered to medical facilities, the facilities may not have the adequate equipment to store them in.

How are the coronavirus vaccines delivered and stored?

Both vaccines are delivered to medical facilities frozen: the Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at temperatures between -25 and -15 degrees Celsius (-13 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit), and the Pfizer vaccine can be stored at three different temperatures.

Pfizer can either be stored at "ultra-low temperatures," in the Pfizer thermal shippers (which the doses arrive in and "can be used as temporary storage units by refilling with dry ice every five days" for up to 30 days of storage), or between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (around 35 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to five days at those conditions. 

However, even though Pfizer can be stored at higher temps for a very short period of time, it is recommended that Pfizer be stored at a colder temp — -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit) — which can extend the vaccine's shelf life up to six months.

And that's where The Ice Cream of the Future comes into play.

Dippin’ Dots freezers, which can reach temperatures "colder than dry ice," could be a game-changer in the way the Pfizer vaccine is both stored and delivered. 

Dippin’ Dots are stored in freezers at -40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Which is exactly why the beloved ice cream company has been tapped for potential vaccine storage and distribution.

While Dippin’ Dots are stored in freezers that only reach -40 degrees, the company itself operates freezers that reach -122 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a possible solution to the vaccine storage issues that may be a problem in the very near and foreseeable future.

Stan Jones, the chief development officer for Dippin' Dots, revealed that the company has already jumped on the opportunity to be a key player in the way the coronavirus vaccine is stored.

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“We have the ability, we have those freezers accessible,” he said in an interview in Dec. 

“They're using our equipment to pelletize, just like we pelletize our ice cream," Jones added. "They'll pelletize some of their products, using the same process that we do, so we developed an equipment line through Dippin' Dots (D.D.) Cryogenics to provide equipment to those other industries."

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Jones went on to say that the company has already had inquiries from multiple pharmacies, medical facilities, and health departments, but that they’re “not overwhelmed” with them yet:

“We have had a few … Most of our inquiries are coming from pharmacies and places that might be administering the vaccines and are anticipating what they might need for storage. We've been getting inquiries but we're not overwhelmed with them.

There has been a lot of interest in our logistics chain, you know, our handling of dry ice and shipping the products on dry ice. 

We've done it for 32 years, so it's not a new thing, and it's very doable."

It’s also important to note that Jones was adamant that vaccines and food were not to be stored in the same freezer, which should obviously go without saying.

Social media users were on board with the idea of Dippin’ Dots “saving us.”

Honestly, is there anything more 2020 than The Ice Cream of the Future saving us all?

“If Dippin' Dots save us this will be the most 2020 thing:  Vaccine distributors and point-of-care locations, like pharmacies and hospitals, have even reached out to the company about renting equipment, since two of its freezer models would be cold enough for the Pfizer vaccine,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another said, “Dippin dots wasnt screwing around when they said they were the ice cream of the future,” while a different Twitter user wrote, “If my vaccine doesn’t say, ‘Brought to you by Dippin’ Dots’ I’m not taking it.”

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Olivia Jakiel is an editor and writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her zingers on Twitter