St. Luke’s prepares for COVID-19 vaccine with high-tech freezers

Specialty ultra-low-temperature freezers have been set up to store the vaccine.

BOISE, Idaho — St. Luke’s announced it’s ready for the first shipments of the new COVID-19 vaccines. The healthcare group was notified by Pfizer this week that the first shipments of its coronavirus vaccine are on the way and are expected to arrive in the coming days.

In order to have extremely cold storage for the breakthrough vaccine, specialty ultra-low-temperature freezers have been set up to store it..

Scott Milner is St. Luke’s Senior Director of Pharmacy and was tasked with making sure the equipment for this is ready and in place.

He said preparations started back in July, and the vaccine will be monitored from start to finish when it arrives in St. Luke’s hands.

“When we first bought these freezers we were just trying to make sure we had as many options as possible,” Milner said, “if the power goes down that this is connected to a generator, if the temperature goes out of range we have the alert tracking, but one of the things that shocked me the first time I heard it was that the smallest shipping amount or ordering amount that would be provided would be 975 doses.”

He says in the 20 years he’s been doing pharmacy in the health care setting, this is the most tech-savvy, packaging shipping he’s ever dealt with, and he feels inspired and motivated by the work that’s gone into this.

Depending on the timing of the anticipated emergency use authorizations by the FDA, vaccines could be administered to the first St. Luke’s frontline health care workers as early as the end of next week.


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