Dippin Dots and COVID Shots: Does the Ice Cream Company Hold the Key to Vaccine Supply Chains?

Photo Courtesy: Mariah Tauger/Getty Images

As we saw at the beginning of the pandemic with widespread personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages and the frenzy over hand sanitizer, the supply chain for medical goods can be incredibly fragile when it’s under stress. Now, combine this with a vaccine that has to be stored at far-below-average temperatures, and there’s a chilling new reality to face in terms of the difficulties of distributing lifesaving medical treatments.

While ice cream isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, it perhaps should be the third or fourth. But what do ice cream makers and vaccine producers have in common? It all boils down to the shipping and storage of their delicate respective products. One ice cream maker in particular — Dippin’ Dots, purveyor of everyone’s favorite bead-like dairy snack — could lead the charge in vaccine distribution, at least in a way.

The makers of Dippin’ Dots are now in the spotlight for their groundbreaking and hard-to-come-by cold-storage solutions, which could potentially play a role in getting Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines — which need to be stored at super-low temperatures, unlike the Moderna and Janssen vaccines — transported and stored around the U.S. more effectively. Here’s how such an unlikely pair could work together — and how it could impact our ability to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.