The hospital said in a statement on Wednesday that it has enough ultra low-temperature freezer capacity to store up to several hundred thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the first coronavirus vaccine expected to receive federal approval.
The hospital does not yet know when the doses will be delivered to it, and how exactly it will distribute them.
However, the hospital said that according to California Department of Public Health guidelines, it will be “expected to receive, store and distribute the vaccine to other healthcare providers and organizations across our region”.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine needs to be stored inside specialized freezers at 94 degrees below zero.
Valley Children’s CEO Todd Suntrapak said, “We will be expected to receive, store and distribute the vaccine to other healthcare providers and organizations across our region.”
Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said the county’s public health department is ready as well.
“The county has procured these large freezer facilities so we do have the capability I believe to store 100,000 units of the vaccine if it does need the extreme cold storage,” Magsig said.
In the case of the Pfizer version of the vaccine, 100,000 units means 50,000 people could receive the vaccine since it requires two doses.
The CDC’s vaccine priority list includes nursing home workers and residents.
58 California counties are lobbying to be among the first to receive the vaccine.
Magsig said he believes the Valley’s role in producing food for the rest of the country will work in Fresno County’s favor when it comes to distribution.
“Because of what we do and the fact that we have many people here who have been affected by the virus, I do believe that we will be at the front of the line when it comes to distribution from the state to the counties,” Magsig said.
Magsig said he expects Fresno County to receive its first vaccine shipment later this month.
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