Pfizer’s Pleasant Prairie Facility Could Supply Western US With Coronavirus Vaccine

Pharmacutial Company Planning To Distribute From 3 Locations, Including Wisconsin

A worker holds a bottle of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
A worker holds a bottle of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, as the mass public vaccination program gets underway at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, England, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020. Graeme Robertson/AP Photos

A Wisconsin facility in Kenosha County will be one of only three distribution centers in the nation for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

According to state legislators who represent Kenosha County, the company will distribute the vaccine across the western portion of the United States from its Pleasant Prairie facility.

“Pleasant Prairie will play a key role in the distribution and will be one of three locations in the country, and two of the main sites that will be a distribution center for the vaccine,” said Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem.

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Kerkman said work is being done at the state and federal level to ensure the vaccine can be delivered safely from Pfizer’s Pleasant Prairie, Memphis and Kalamazoo, Michigan sites.

“Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, Memphis, Tennessee, are going to be the two larger facilities that are going to be distributing it,” Kerkman said. “Again, we are just waiting for the FDA to give all those approvals they need to so we can get it safely out to the public and the first-line responders.”

According to a coronavirus vaccine distribution fact sheet on the pharmaceutical company’s website, Pfizer says the vaccine will “largely ship from our Kalamazoo, Michigan site direct to the point of use. We also will use our existing distribution center in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.”

Representatives from Pfizer did not return requests for comment.

Pfizer opened its facility in the Village of Pleasant Prairie in 2004. Village Administrator Nathan Thiel said Pleasant Prairie is excited to be “part of the solution to a national problem and global pandemic.”

The village wouldn’t comment further on Pfizer’s plans or provide documents submitted by the company without an open records request, which they said would take 14 days to complete.

On Monday, state Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Somers, and Reps. Tod Ohnstad, D-Kenosha, and Tip McGuire, D-Kenosha, announced they are working on legislation to “clear the way for Pfizer to distribute” the vaccine across the U.S.

“It’s come to our attention that a flaw in federal regulations would make it difficult for Pfizer to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine from its storage location in Pleasant Prairie to other, neighboring states,” Wirch said in a press release announcing the legislation.

When asked about the logistics Tuesday, state Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said Pfizer shouldn’t have an issue distributing the vaccine, but there may be hold ups with an administrative kit that goes along with the vaccine that is not manufactured by Pfizer.

“It’s not something that we will see in 2020, but that could become an issue in 2021,” Palm said.

Meanwhile, vaccines being made by Pfizer and competitor Moderna will be reviewed Thursday for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Each of the state’s seven health care emergency readiness coalition (HERC) regions will receive an allotment from the first round of 49,725 doses of a vaccine produced by Pfizer and provided to the state to distribute.

Priority will be given to health care workers.