Dry ice will be in demand as COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out in Minnesota

With the first COVID-19 vaccine requiring storage at extremely cold temperatures, dry ice producers are gearing up for a busy start to the new year.

Oxygen Service Company in St. Paul, Minnesota is one of the largest producers of dry ice in the Twin Cities. CEO Ryan Diekow says they haven’t received any orders from hospitals or pharmacies yet, but they are ready if needed.

“Nobody knows what the true demand is going to be once it hits the market and how long it will last,” said Diekow. “But the need is going to be tremendous.”

The Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at -94 Fahrenheit. Dry ice is the most affordable and accessible way to keep viles at below freezing temperatures. 

Ohio-based company Cold Jet manufactures the machines that turn liquid carbon dioxide into dry ice. Chief Marketing Officer Christian Rogiers said sales have tripled this year, as many companies involved in production and distribution of the vaccine look to produce their own cold storage.

“So not only do you have the vaccine developer but you also have many hospitals and entities around the world inquiring and purchasing equipment to make their own dry ice on the spot,” said Rogiers. “Demand for our machines are everywhere.”

Rogiers said media reports warning of a potential dry ice shortage are false. Diekow also expressed confidence that they could handle the increased demand.

“We certainly have the resources here to support it,” said Diekow who said they have the capacity to add at least another 1,000 pounds per hour to dry ice production, if needed.