A COVID-19 Vaccine Means Higher Demand for Dry Ice

As pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer prepare their distribution plans for a COVID-19 vaccine, another large issue is on the rise—the demand for dry ice.

Vaccines need the assistance of dry ice to be kept and shipped at the right temperature, most needing between -94 and -112 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transportation and logistics companies will be shipping substantial orders of vaccine doses throughout 2021. But this begs the question: will there be enough dry ice?

The possible shortage comes into question due to the U.S. facing shortages in liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) this past year. This has been largely driven by the drop in ethanol and a by-product of CO2 raw gas. There’s a shortage in both liquid and dry ice due to the pandemic’s effects on the supply chain. Experts are calling for a spike in demand once vaccines are ready to ship, particularly in areas where shortages are already present.

According to the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) who supplies a large majority of liquid CO2 throughout North America, there will be a sufficient supply of dry ice for both the U.S. and Canada—at least for a while. Members also reported the potential capacity to increase production and distribution of dry ice for vaccines if there comes a time when it’s needed. Currently, carbon dioxide production in the U.S. and Canada is between 30,000 and 35,000 metric tons per day.                                          

Success will soon rely on how closely vaccine manufacturers, dry ice, and carbon dioxide producers work together to communicate efficiently regarding supply and demand.

At Butler Gas, we are ready to serve the increased demand and honored to be part of the solution for our communities. We are Pittsburgh’s source for fresh dry ice. We will do our part in working closely with medical facilities for dry ice supply as soon as the vaccine is safe to distribute. With multiple sources for carbon dioxide supply, we will continue to manufacture fresh dry ice daily at our McKees Rocks facility.

Learn more about our dry ice production process, here

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