Wisconsin company tracks, controls frigid temps needed for top vaccine candidates

NOW: Wisconsin company tracks, controls frigid temps needed for top vaccine candidates

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LAKE GENEVA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- There's optimism across the area and the nation for COVID-19 vaccines. As two companies head to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, CBS 58 is learning more today about the role Wisconsin will play.

Pfizer's vaccine must be stored around minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit. A Lake Geneva-based company, Primex, is involved in the effort to protect top vaccine candidates.

Primex’s OneVue temperature sensor tracks and controls the temperatures of vaccines and alerts health care providers if there is an issue.

"It's nationwide. We do work with many local Milwaukee-based hospitals as customers already, and our phones are ringing off the hook right now," said Rob Klinck, senior vice president of sales for Primex.

He said the sensors can go all the way to minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Whether that's a standard temperature 2 to 8 degrees Celsius or some of the cryogenic freezer requirements of minus 94 degrees, which we're hearing some of the vaccine requirements are going to be, Primex provides that temperature monitoring instant alerts for the clinical staff, the facilities to make sure that those vaccines are in compliance with CDC regulations," Klinck said.

State health officials say they expect a small amount of vaccines in Wisconsin by the end of the year.

Top Illinois officials confirmed during a media briefing a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines landed at O'Hare International Airport this week and were brought to Wisconsin. The Pleasant Prairie facility reportedly can handle the low temperatures needed for the vaccines.

"My understanding is that Pfizer has a warehouse that's south of Kenosha. They have storage capability for their ultra low temperature vaccinations," said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.

Local doctors and other front line workers will be among the first to get the doses once the vaccines get federal approval. As soon as the FDA signs off, Wisconsin health care workers said they'll be ready to get the vaccines.

"It's something that we really need. A lot of health care workers have been quarantining or distancing themselves from their immediate family members -- taking those little extra precautions at home. It's going to be nice to have this added level of protection against coronavirus in your everyday job," said Dr. Brad Burmeister, an emergency physician and member of the Wisconsin Medical Society's COVID-19 task force.

Burmeister also notes that health care workers are optimistic.

"I think people are really just ecstatic about the speed that this vaccine has taken place," Burmeister said.

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