On the boxes with Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer/Biontech, which are delivered by air freight cooled with dry ice at a temperature of -70°C, one finds, in addition to the dangerous goods labels of quality class 9 / UN1845 for dry ice, also labels for the identification of dangerous goods quality class 9 / UN3481 for lithium batteries in equipment.
This is the case because the packages containing the vaccines also contain data loggers and tracking devices that are equipped with lithium-ion batteries. The data loggers are used to track the temperature during transport. The tracking devices are in the package to locate the packages and thus protect them from loss or theft.
To make this possible, a new special regulation has been published by the aviation authority ICAO-IATA for this purpose, which applies to all lithium batteries enclosed with Covid vaccines.
Special provision A220 for air transport states:
Packages containing COVID-19 vaccines and accompanying lithium battery-containing data loggers and/or lithium battery-containing cargo locators are not subject to the marking and documentation requirements of Part II of Packing Instructions 967 or 970, as applicable.
What is UN1845 Dry ice?
Dry ice is an odourless, white solid consisting of carbon dioxide. It is non-toxic, non-flammable and anti-bacterial. Dry ice has a temperature of -78.5°C at normal pressure (1.013 bar). The special feature of dry ice is that when it is heated, it does not become liquid, but gaseous. This happens at a temperature of -56.6°C and above.
Dry ice (= solid carbon dioxide) is classified according to the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) under UN No. 1845, dangerous goods class 9, classification code M11.
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