St. Bernard Hospital uses ultra-cold freezers for longer storage of coronavirus vaccine

CHICAGO, Dec. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Bernard Hospital today took delivery of the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine for the coronavirus, and Dr. Jennifer Atomah, director of the hospital's pharmacy, placed the medicine in one of the ultra-cold freezers that allow that product to be stored for up to six months. The hospital ordered two of the special freezers in September of 2020 in order to proactively prepare to safely distribute the long-awaited vaccine.

While many community hospitals will receive their vaccine shipment in smaller quantities through the Chicago Department of Public Health, St. Bernard is among the few hospitals getting direct shipments from the vaccine manufacturers, Dr. Atomah said, crediting a "collective planning process" for the proactive measures taken by the hospital.

"We were fortunate to get them on time, but now demand is high but supply is low," Atomah said of the freezers. "Colleagues are saying it's difficult now to get ultra-cold freezers compared to when we got them. It goes to show we're ready to serve our community, and we have the tools to do so."

The hospital will begin administering the vaccine to staff on Friday, December 18, and will extend this much-needed resource to the community as soon as the Illinois Department of Public Health provides guidance.

For more information:
Lindsey Wright
(708) 504-0678

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SOURCE St. Bernard Hospital

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