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St. Luke’s is getting ready to receive Covid-19 vaccines

Once the Pfizer vaccine is received at St. Luke’s, it will be handled with special leather...
Once the Pfizer vaccine is received at St. Luke’s, it will be handled with special leather gloves and stored in ultra-low-temperature freezers.(Rachel Fabbi)
Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 11:26 AM MST
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BOISE, ID (KMVT/KSVT) - The following is a press release from St. Luke’s.

St. Luke’s Health System announced it is ready for the first shipments of the new COVID-19 vaccines. It was notified by Pfizer this week that the first shipments are on the way and are expected to arrive in the next few days.

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, but that estimation is subject to change.

The Pfizer vaccine will be shipped in specialty designed temperature-controlled thermal shippers that use dry ice to maintain the recommended storage temperature conditions of -70 degrees for up to ten days unopened. The packages are equipped with GPS-enabled thermal sensors to track the location and temperature of all shipments. Each box weighs 70 pounds, 50 pounds of which are dry ice. St. Luke’s volunteered to be a test site and recently received a sample empty vaccine box to ensure the process worked. Temperatures inside the sample box stayed at -80 degrees even through transport.

Once the Pfizer vaccine is received at St. Luke’s, it will be handled with special leather gloves and stored in ultra-low-temperature freezers, which St. Luke’s purchased with the help of donations made by the community to the St. Luke’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. Those freezers are in place and ready. They’re expected to each hold 20,000 vaccines and have multiple layers of back-up alarms and notification systems to ensure their ultra-low cold temperatures are maintained at all times.

St. Luke’s also has an additional back-up system that relies on dry ice. A storage chest can hold 500 pounds of pelleted dry ice. The COVID-19 vaccine can be stored inside for up to 20 days as long as the dry ice is replenished every five days.

It’s anticipated the Moderna vaccine and supplies will also arrive at St. Luke’s within a few weeks to assist increasing access to those determined to receive the vaccine through Idaho’s approved roll out plan. The number of doses distributed to each organization will be determined by the State and local health districts, which should be your primary point of contact for information on Idaho’s allocation and distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information on the vaccine, please visit St. Luke’s COVID-19 vaccine resource webpage.

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