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Akron dry ice maker to play role with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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The corporate, based greater than 120 years in the past, is now the only real producer of dry ice in Northeast Ohio.

AKRON, Ohio — With the Meals and Drug Administration’s emergency use approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, hospitals and pharmacies will now be challenged to correctly retailer and transport the life-saving vials at minus-94 levels Fahrenheit.

It is why a longtime Akron firm is anticipating a enterprise growth. At Gehm & Sons on town’s east aspect, the telephones maintain ringing from well being departments and pharmacies anxious to learn about provides of the mandatory product to maintain the vaccine super-chilled: strong carbon dioxide, higher often known as “dry ice.”

“Yeah, I am the Ice Man,” proprietor Harry Gehm stated with a smile. His 120-year-old household enterprise began as wagon store within the late 1800s, then developed right into a gentle drink firm and CO2 provider.

In 2016, the corporate shifted to manufacturing dry ice, and 4 years later, Gehm’s firm is about to play a essential position within the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

“When in my lifetime will dry ice play as essential of a task as this,” Gehm mirrored.

Nonetheless, there will likely be challenges like his firm has by no means seen earlier than, due to the character of the product.

“It may possibly’t be inventoried,” stated Gehm, explaining that 25 kilos of dry ice would “soften” or sublimate to CO2 vapor in mere days. That is why the product must be made to order, and prospects should be conscious that their provides must be refilled each few days.

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At present, Gehm & Sons is ready to produce 25,000 kilos of dry ice a day. Nonetheless, getting the provides to prospects in a brief window of time would be the largest problem.

“The logistics will likely be a nightmare,” Gehm advised 3News, including he is ready to rent extra vehicles and manpower to fulfill the elevated demand. Proper now, although, it is a wait and see scenario.

“As soon as they get the vaccines rolling, I will be able to take the calls,” he declared.

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