Staff from Oregon’s Josephine County Public Health were faced with a quandary when they got stuck in a snowstorm on Highway 199. With COVID-19 vaccinations that were about to expire and an ambulance to work in, they decided to offer the vaccines to other motorists.
The workers were on their back to Grants Pass from a vaccination event at the Illinois Valley High School when they got stuck, according to a Facebook post from Josephine County Public Health.
The team had six doses of the COVID-19 vaccine left but with the snow, they wouldn’t be able to get back before they expired. Not wanting to waste any, the volunteers started knocking on the windows of the other cars stuck in the snow with them, offering the vaccine.
The workers managed to administer all six doses to motorists, including one Josephine County Sheriff’s Office employee who had arrived too late to get their vaccine at the high school but just happened to get stuck near the ambulance.
Mike Weber JCPH Director said it was one of the coolest operations he’s ever been a part of. Although the Facebook post doesn’t make it clear which vaccine specifically was used, both major vaccines need to be frozen in order to not go bad.
Pfizer’s vaccine must be kept at around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 158 Fahrenheit) while Moderna’s must be kept at minus 20 Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit). Once thawed, Pfizer’s vaccine can be kept refrigerated for five days while Moderna’s can be kept for about 30 days.