Pfizer sends COVID-19 vaccine supplies to East Texas hospital ahead of authorization

Ultra-cold freezer will be used to store doses once received
Updated: Dec. 11, 2020 at 7:42 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With the FDA expected to authorize the COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use within the coming days, East Texas hospitals are already receiving supplies from Pfizer to give the vaccine.

Some of those supplies arrived in boxes to UT Health’s North Campus in Tyler on Thursday. The boxes contained items like syringes, needles, sodium chloride, and personal protective equipment. The boxes also contained CDC labeled vaccination record cards to write down the date that the first and second shots are administered along with the product name and manufacturer lot number.

“Those will be given to each patient after each vaccine, and hopefully they’ll bring that same card back for their second dose,” said Melissa Maeker, UT Health North Campus Pharmacy Director.

CDC labeled COVID-19 vaccination record card sent by Pfizer.
CDC labeled COVID-19 vaccination record card sent by Pfizer.(Blake Holland/KLTV)

Maeker expects Pfizer to ship the first doses of the vaccine within 24 hours of the FDA’s green light for emergency use.

“They’ll be shipping out next week, most likely,” she said.

Like many of your holiday packages, the vaccine will be shipped by UPS and FedEx, although the packages will arrive packed in dry ice and have GPS-enabled thermal sensors.

“It’s going to have a lot of dry ice in it. So we’re going to bring it into this area and unpack it per their guidelines. They’ve given very detailed instructions, which is helpful,” Maeker said.

Using goggles and gloves, the first doses will then be placed inside of an ultra-cold freezer for sub-zero storage. That process has to happen within about three to five minutes, according to Maeker.

A look inside the ultra-cold freezer at UT Health North in Tyler.
A look inside the ultra-cold freezer at UT Health North in Tyler.(Blake Holland/KLTV)

The trays containing the vaccine are said to be about the size of a personal pan pizza box, holding 975 doses. Three full trays will be distributed to UT Health in the first week, along with one partially-filled tray.

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