Hospital Distributes 600 COVID Vaccines In Two Hours When Freezer Goes Out

When a northern California hospital’s freezer broke on Monday morning, the 830 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine they were storing were in danger. The vaccine is shipped at frozen temperatures and can last for up to 30 days, but once it reaches room temperature, it has to be used within 12 hours. And by the time staff at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County realized they had a freezer problem, the vials were quickly thawing and they only had about two hours to use them before they would no longer be viable.

With the clock ticking, the medical team decided their goal would be to inject all of the doses, regardless of state guidelines, so none were wasted. Adventist spokeswoman Cici Winiger says they felt “the more people we vaccinate just brings us closer to herd immunity.” About 200 doses belonged to the county, so those were returned, 97 doses went to the county jail and another 40 were delivered to a local elder care facility.

A big-rig accident on one of the main highways kept the hospital from reaching its sister facility 20 minutes away, so Adventist staff set up four sites and asked all available medical professionals to come pitch in. Nurses, pharmacists and doctors – even those who are not part of the hospital – came together and by the end of the two-hour deadline, Winiger says every dose had found a patient.

Source: Los Angeles Times