| Memphis Commercial Appeal
How the new RNA technology is used to create the COVID-19 vaccinesThe COVID-19 vaccine is using new technology that has never been used before in traditional vaccines. Here’s how an mRNA vaccine works.FedEx’s massive mission to distribute COVID-19 vaccines has started, the Memphis logistics giant confirmed Saturday.”The process for moving vaccines into our network has begun,” FedEx representative Bonny Harrison wrote in a text message to The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, part of the USA TODAY Network. “I think you probably just heard General Perna confirm rollout begins Sunday.”Gen. Gustave Perna is co-leader of Operation Warp Speed in charge of logistics. “As I speak today, right now, vaccines are being packaged,” Perma said Saturday. “Tomorrow morning, vaccines will start rolling from manufacturing to distribution hubs. By Monday, vaccines will be received.”FedEx will ship vaccine doses from manufacturers and distributors to administration sites in the U.S., leaning on the size and speed of its FedEx Express air cargo network.Coronavirus vaccine: UPS Worldport hub in Louisville to soon receive, ship Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccineWill COVID vaccine shipments delay your Christmas gifts?: Prepare for Shipageddon 2020 by sending packages ASAPPfizer is shipping its COVID-19 vaccine directly through FedEx, while health care distributor McKesson will work with FedEx to ship other vaccines. It’s splitting duties with UPS.A UPS spokesperson previously confirmed the company will focus on delivering vaccine doses to the eastern half of the United States, leaving the western half to FedEx.The distribution of the vaccine is beginning amid the peak holiday shipping season, which is on a record-breaking pace due to e-commerce’s growth driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith has said the company has no higher priority than delivering the vaccines on time.Vice President Mike Pence visited Memphis and met with FedEx executives on Dec. 3, highlighting the company’s role in the distribution effort as part of “Operation Warp Speed”. He said FedEx will “make it possible for us to deliver those 40 million doses to 20 million patients” slated to come by the end of the year.The government has paid for vaccine shipping costs, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said previously. States will determine where doses go within their borders.Pfizer is expected to have 6.4 million doses ready in the first round of vaccine allocation, with half the doses being sent first to account for second-dose requirements, Azar said.Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine requires storage temperatures as low as minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature-controlled packaging and in-transit monitoring are being used for safe delivery. FedEx has cold chain facilities to store the vaccines if unexpected delays occur.Reporter Daniel Connolly contributed to this story.Max Garland covers FedEx, logistics and health care for The Commercial Appeal. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-529-2651 and on Twitter @MaxGarlandTypes.