UAB has freezer that could store COVID-19 vaccine

Storing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Public Health vaccine plan says it will partner with six hospitals across the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. They haven’t released what hospitals, but UAB has one freezer that can do it.

UAB’s freezer is a -80 degree Celsius freezer. Officials with UAB said the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius.

UAB said it has the capacity to store medications at extreme temperatures, but do not have any of the vaccines at this time.

They didn’t get the freezer just for the COVID-19 vaccine. They use it to store other medications. While UAB has the capacity to store the vaccine, some health officials say it won’t be an easy storage process.

“The logistical part of administering this particular vaccine is going to be very challenging,” JCDH Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson said. “It has to be stored at -80°F. Once you take it out of storage, it has to be administered in five to six hours. You can’t put it back in, you have to go ahead and use it. Then, it has to be re-administered about three weeks later so that just presents a lot of challenges.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health said it still does not know exactly when the COVID-19 vaccine will become available in the state.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.