Search for freezers to store COVID-19 vaccines: Hospitals, health departments on the lookout


Fresno, California (KSEE) – Following two promising vaccine trials, the Central Valley counties are now looking for somewhere to put them once they are delivered.

The state estimates that the first shipment for the Central Valley could come in mid to late December.

Fresno County Department of Public Health has the capacity to store around 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and approximately 20,000 of the Moderna vaccine. Each person needs to take two doses, so it would be enough for 60,000 people. All of these doses will go directly to healthcare workers.

“Everyone is standing with their hand in the air ready for a vaccination,” said Madera County Department of Public Health Director Sara Bosse

The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius. The Moderna vaccine has to be stored at -20 degrees Celsius.

“Both of those vaccines need cold storage,” said Chief Operating Officer W. Eugene Egerton. “The Pfizer vaccine needs super cold storage. We are looking at the freezers that have the temperatures for that. They also send it in containers that have dry ice that you can recharge.”

Once the vaccine is approved, the state will decide how many will be sent to the counties based on population and storage.

Madera and Tulare County have also purchased ultra-cold freezers but it is unclear their capacity.

Kaweah Delta Director of Pharmacy James McNulty said, even with the first shipment of doses, most likely not all health care workers will get the vaccine.

“We would triage based on those that are at highest risk,” said McNulty. “So your emergency room providers, folks that are managing COVID patients on the floors, so it would vary.”

Hospitals hope to get the initial doses by the end of the year.

For local, national, and breaking news, and to get weather alerts, download our FREE mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.