Henry Ford Health Systems has announced that five of its hospitals will assist with COVID-19 vaccine distribution from both Pfizer and Moderna. As both promising vaccines inch closer to gaining approval, healthcare providers are working overtime to figure out how to receive, store, and distribute them.
The second piece of that puzzle is particularly challenging. As we reported yesterday, Ford has ordered 12 special ultra-cold freezers to store the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure its employees have access to it. These special freezers are needed because the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require lower storage temperatures than traditional vaccines – around -70 degrees celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit) versus 2-8 degrees Celcius (35-46 degrees Fahrenheit).
Henry Ford Health Systems has also purchased six of these special freezers to store the vaccine. Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit will have two of each type of freezer. Meanwhile, Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson will each have one of each kind of freezer.
All five hospitals have been approved as vaccine distribution sites by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Installation of the freezers is expected to be completed by December 1st, long before the vaccines are available.
Right now, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has been submitted for Emergency Use Authorization and is expected to be reviewed by an FDA Advisory Committee on December 10th. Henry Ford could receive its first shipment as early as December 12th. Meanwhile, Moderna has said that it will also apply for Emergency Use Authorization and, if approved, could have its vaccine available by early January.
At the moment, it’s unclear how many doses of the vaccine Henry Ford Health Systems will receive.