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UIHC gets freezers to house COVID vaccines, thinks they’ll have them by mid-December

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 6:50 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has taken steps to accommodate whichever COVID-19 vaccine candidate they get. They formed a committee a couple months ago to plan for a vaccine, including how they would store it. Chief Pharmacy Officer with UIHC Mike Brownlee says there were some logistics to figure out.

“We actually purchased two ultra low freezers that store between -60 and -80 degrees Celsius. We also purchased two freezers that store at -20 for whatever vaccine candidates required that type of storage,” he told us.

Brownlee says they are fully prepared to store the Pfizer vaccine which requires those extremely cold temperatures. They believe they will have a vaccine by mid-December, the next question is who will get it first. Brownlee says the goal is for health care workers to get it first. Emergency responders, those in long-term care facilities and those who are considered high risk will also be a priority.

It is important to note the supply of the vaccine will be limited at first, and the order of who receives it when it gets to Iowa, could actually vary by county.

”The allocation will go out from the state to the counties, and then the counties will determine who within their county receives the vaccines. So it’s unknown at this point how much we believe we will receive, but I do know that we’ll get some and it will be distributed in partnership with IDPH and Johnson County Public Health,” Brownlee told us.

Pfizer filed an emergency use authorization today, once that happens there’s only one more step according to Brownlee. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will do a review, which is expected to take between two and four weeks, then the vaccine would be available.

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