race for a vaccine

John Muir Health Preps for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

John Muir Health, Concord Medical Center has the ultra-cold freezer needed to store Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine

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Whether its Pfizer or Moderna, COVID-19 vaccines are coming to hospitals across the Bay Area, possibly as early as this month.

John Muir Health, Concord Medical Center already has the ultra-cold freezer needed to store the Pfizer vaccine and another freezer is on the way.

"It's huge," Dr. Nick Mickas with John Muir Health said. "It would hold north of 10,000 vaccines."

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius — colder than a winter day in Antarctica.

Mickas is in charge of overseeing the vaccine distribution process for John Muir Health. He said they have ordered 5,000 vaccines, but the state and the county will have the final say.

"We will give what we get and we have ordered enough to get to the majority of our high-risk staff," he said.

The first 1,000 staff members to get the vaccine are the doctors and nurses who are most exposed — those who work in the intensive care unit and the emergency room.

"I don’t believe that we’ll be giving it to patients who are actually ill," Mickas said.

That’s because the state has yet to give guidance on when it’s time to give the vaccine to patients, according to Mickas.

"It will get here when it gets here, but we are confident that we’re going to be in a position to start immunizing our employees when the vaccine ultimately gets here even if it's as early as next week," he said.

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