Ford has remained at the forefront of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning, putting tremendous effort into producing personal protective equipment and even police vehicles that are capable of turning into giant ovens to kill off the virus. And now that a handful of COVID-19 vaccines are right around the corner, it understandably wants to make sure its employees have access to them, too.
To do that, the automaker has ordered 12 ultra-cold freezers that are capable of safely storing Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine. 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).
Ford hasn’t yet worked out the details on how it will use the freezers, but stated that it wants to ensure that COVID-19 vaccinations are available to its employees on a voluntary basis. It’s also unclear when the automaker will receive the vaccinations. Though assembly line workers are considered essential, healthcare workers and nursing home residents are expected to be the first to receive them.
Ford also didn’t disclose which brand or type of freezers it purchased, but there are a variety of specialty units available that range in price from $5,000-$15,000 each. Specialty freezer manufacturers have warned that amid high demand, deliveries of these units could take several months at this point.
Ford isn’t alone in purchasing the special freezers, as a host of companies and state and city governments are following suit as vaccinations are expected to roll out in the coming months.
Since a two-month production shutdown earlier this year, Ford has managed to avoid a large-scale COVID-19 breakout in its plants, though a few isolated cases have popped up.