Almost as soon as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified in December of 2019, scientists raced to develop a vaccine to combat it. Pfizer’s vaccine was fully approved by the FDA in August 2021 after initially receiving Emergency Use Authorization in December 2020 – just one short year after the emergence of the deadly virus.

Its size may be tiny, but the contents may have saved a life. At just 1 ¼” high and a half inch in diameter, this vial held enough vaccine for six full doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people age 12 and up. The gray top allowed for a needle to be inserted. The label includes instructions for dilution and intramuscular delivery.

This vial was donated by UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital in Dubuque as part of the Dubuque County Historical Society’s Hindsight 2020 collecting initiative. The Society is actively seeking items like this one that document this unprecedented time in history – whether related to the pandemic, supply chain challenges, racial tensions, or countless other topics important to our community. History is being made today, all around us, and the Dubuque County Historical Society is committed documenting moments in recent history and preserving items that may be difficult to collect in the future.