A California hospital administered 600 coronavirus vaccines in two hours on Monday after one of its freezers malfunctioned, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The freezer had been storing shots of Moderna’s vaccine, which must be refrigerated at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius — about 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit — or used within 12 hours once it hits room temperature.
Staff members at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center, in Mendocino County, discovered at 11:35 a.m. that the freezer was faulty and that the solutions were warming up, the Times reported.
The center quickly launched four pop-up vaccination centers, and the drive saved the doses from going to waste.
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A California hospital administered 600 coronavirus vaccine shots in just two hours after its freezer malfunctioned, the Los Angeles Times reported.
At 11:35 a.m. on Monday, staff members at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County discovered that their freezer, containing 830 doses of Moderna’s vaccine, had been inactive for hours, the Times reported.
According to the Times, the compressor on the freezer had stopped for hours, and the alarm did not go off.
Moderna’s vaccine must be stored frozen or refrigerated at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius – about 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit. If the solution hits room temperature, it must be administered within 12 hours.
By the time the Mendocino County hospital workers discovered the freezer failure, the vaccine shots had been warming up, the Times said. They estimated they had two hours to give out the shots or faced losing them, the newspaper said.
“It was not how my day was planned,” Cici Winiger, an Adventist spokeswoman, told the Times. “At that point it was all hands on deck, drop everything.”
A medical assistant receiving a dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in San Diego in December. Bing Guan/Reuters
The medical center set up four pop-up vaccination sites across the county and spread the news among staff members that vaccines were available and needed to be used.
“We just told them, ‘Tell everyone you know,'” Winiger said. “We just wanted to make sure none of this goes to waste.”
Six hundred doses were successfully administered in just two hours at the sites, The Times said. Dozens of people were turned away when stocks were exhausted, the Times said.
Forty doses went to staff members at an elderly-care facility nearby, and 200 doses were returned to the Mendocino County government – 97 of which were used on staff at the Los Angeles County Jail that day, the Times said.
California has some of the most dire COVID-19 case and fatality numbers in the US. On Monday, more than 70,000 cases were reported, a record for daily case numbers in the state.
More than 9,140 new cases and 77 new deaths were reported in Los Angeles County, one of the worst-hit counties, on Monday.
The same day, Los Angeles County’s Emergency Medical Services said in a memo that, to “conserve oxygen” during the COVID-19 outbreak, medics should give oxygen only to patients with blood-oxygen levels below 90%; levels above 95% are usually considered normal.
Mendocino County, where the hospital is located, is much better off than the rest of the state, but an outbreak at the Mendocino County Jail has seen 63 inmates and 13 staff members test positive for the coronavirus, KRCR reported on Saturday.
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