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Skagit Regional Health receives sub-zero freezer donation for COVID vaccine storage

Dec 17, 2020, 09:42 AM
Skagit Regional Health receives sub-zero freezer donation from Puget Sound Energy for COVID-19 vaccine storage.

As Skagit Regional Health planned for the acceptance and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, one barrier stood in the way of accepting the first vaccine anticipated to be approved -- a lack of ultra-cold storage. On December 4, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) donated a sub-zero freezer to Skagit Regional Health paving the way for Skagit Regional Health to order the Pfizer vaccine, which received approval on December 11, 2020. According to Pfizer’s website, the company’s vaccine must be stored at -70C (-94 F), which is far colder than a standard freezer.

PSE sub-zero freezer donation

“I was thinking about the challenges surrounding the local storage and distribution of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine. I wanted to connect a disused sub-zero freezer, a relatively specialized piece of equipment in short supply, with an effort that might assist in local storage of the vaccine,” said Mike Ficklin, PSE Fish and Wildlife Specialist. “It feels great to be part of a PSE collective effort to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution and community health.”

The sub-zero freezer had been utilized by the Fish and Wildlife program at Baker Dam in Concrete as part of a fish bio-study in 2013 and 2014. Once the study concluded, the freezer was no longer necessary. Aware of the need, Ficklin contacted the Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation (Skagit Regional Health) about donating the freezer to support the local COVID-19 vaccine effort.

“This is a great community with people constantly thinking about how they can help one another and keeping their eyes open for opportunity,” said Skagit Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Connie Davis. “The generosity is heartwarming and has helped us solve a problem where there was no other good solution.” 

The freezer’s value exceeds its monetary worth as it will allow Skagit Regional Health to hold 975 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. “This is an incredible gift – not only to Skagit Regional Health, but to our entire community,” said Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation Executive Director Linda Frizzell. The Foundation facilitated the donation from Puget Sound Energy to Skagit Regional Health.

Skagit Regional Health is working closely with federal, state and regional partners to finalize vaccine distribution plans that are aligned with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Washington state Department of Health (DOH) and county public health agencies. Due to the limited initial vaccine quantities, federal agencies and DOH are drafting a tiered approach to prioritize groups for vaccination. The CDC and DOH framework focuses on healthcare workers, first responders and long term care facilities in Tier 1A. In alignment with the tiered approach, Skagit Regional Health will begin vaccinating employees in direct care of COVID-19 patients first in an effort to keep staff healthy to continue caring for the community. Skagit Regional Health will follow direction given from DOH regarding progression through the vaccine prioritization tiers. Current estimates indicate that patients can likely begin receiving vaccinations in late winter/early spring.

For information about vaccine planning, visit our website: www.skagitregionalhealth.org/covid/covid-vaccines.

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Last post : 09/23/2021

Skagit Regional Health receives sub-zero freezer donation for COVID vaccine storage

Dec 17, 2020, 09:42 AM
Skagit Regional Health receives sub-zero freezer donation from Puget Sound Energy for COVID-19 vaccine storage.

As Skagit Regional Health planned for the acceptance and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, one barrier stood in the way of accepting the first vaccine anticipated to be approved -- a lack of ultra-cold storage. On December 4, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) donated a sub-zero freezer to Skagit Regional Health paving the way for Skagit Regional Health to order the Pfizer vaccine, which received approval on December 11, 2020. According to Pfizer’s website, the company’s vaccine must be stored at -70C (-94 F), which is far colder than a standard freezer.

PSE sub-zero freezer donation

“I was thinking about the challenges surrounding the local storage and distribution of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine. I wanted to connect a disused sub-zero freezer, a relatively specialized piece of equipment in short supply, with an effort that might assist in local storage of the vaccine,” said Mike Ficklin, PSE Fish and Wildlife Specialist. “It feels great to be part of a PSE collective effort to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution and community health.”

The sub-zero freezer had been utilized by the Fish and Wildlife program at Baker Dam in Concrete as part of a fish bio-study in 2013 and 2014. Once the study concluded, the freezer was no longer necessary. Aware of the need, Ficklin contacted the Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation (Skagit Regional Health) about donating the freezer to support the local COVID-19 vaccine effort.

“This is a great community with people constantly thinking about how they can help one another and keeping their eyes open for opportunity,” said Skagit Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Connie Davis. “The generosity is heartwarming and has helped us solve a problem where there was no other good solution.” 

The freezer’s value exceeds its monetary worth as it will allow Skagit Regional Health to hold 975 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. “This is an incredible gift – not only to Skagit Regional Health, but to our entire community,” said Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation Executive Director Linda Frizzell. The Foundation facilitated the donation from Puget Sound Energy to Skagit Regional Health.

Skagit Regional Health is working closely with federal, state and regional partners to finalize vaccine distribution plans that are aligned with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Washington state Department of Health (DOH) and county public health agencies. Due to the limited initial vaccine quantities, federal agencies and DOH are drafting a tiered approach to prioritize groups for vaccination. The CDC and DOH framework focuses on healthcare workers, first responders and long term care facilities in Tier 1A. In alignment with the tiered approach, Skagit Regional Health will begin vaccinating employees in direct care of COVID-19 patients first in an effort to keep staff healthy to continue caring for the community. Skagit Regional Health will follow direction given from DOH regarding progression through the vaccine prioritization tiers. Current estimates indicate that patients can likely begin receiving vaccinations in late winter/early spring.

For information about vaccine planning, visit our website: www.skagitregionalhealth.org/covid/covid-vaccines.