In the midst of an New York Times article on the preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine, this interesting news regarding the cold chain for them, and their need for dry ice:
As if the challenge weren’t sufficiently daunting, the world is facing a looming shortage of dry ice — an unexpected side effect of the pandemic.
Dry ice, the stuff that exudes chilly smoke and enthralls school-age scientists, is made from carbon dioxide, which is most commonly created as a byproduct during the production of ethanol.
But ethanol production ebbs and flows based on the demand for gasoline. This spring, as stay-at-home orders went into effect, people began driving less. As a result, ethanol production slumped, and so did the supply of carbon dioxide.
In April, Richard Gottwald, chief executive of the Compressed Gas Association, sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence warning of “a significant risk of a shortage in carbon dioxide.”
Five months later, “the ethanol industry still has not bounced back,” Mr. Gottwald said in an interview. “We are seeing a shortage.” And that is making dry ice hard to come by.
Cold chains are amazing, and it will take an amazing amount of work to get this all to work out well.