COVID-19 vaccines transported by product from Greenville, SC's Softbox Systems

Compliments of GSA Business Report and SCBIZ News

Frontline workers at Prisma Health received the first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine last week, but to some extent, the shipment was simply returning home to the Upstate.

Greenville is the North American headquarters for Softbox, the British manufacturer of the insulated containers critical to the stability of the Pfizer vaccine.

“I consider this the start to the finish as we move into this process of trying to get enough immunity into the community,” Dr. Steve Shelton said as the dry ice-laden Softbox made a triumphant arrival at Prisma Health-Midlands, complete with pom-poms and cheering health care workers. Shelton is an emergency room physician with Prisma Health who spearheaded COVID-19 treatment efforts in the Midlands.

“I know there is a lot of anxiety about this, but I am confident in the FDA in making sure that they have approved an effective vaccine,” he said. “I feel like I am honored to be here to receive this and am doing my part to combat this disease.”

To remain effective, the vaccine must be shipped at temperatures colder than most of Antarctica, in a box with more layers than a Russian doll. The Softbox includes a top layer or “pod” of dry ice housed on top of five trays of the vaccine, which in turn, nests in a carrying box with a foam lid and temperature gauge. All this is fitted in a cardboard shipping container, according to a Dec. 3 manual from Pfizer.

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