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Idaho State, Southeastern Idaho Public health to team up to store incoming COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Freezer
Posted at 3:47 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 17:47:57-05

Idaho State University will partner with the local health district to store the expected Pfizer vaccine.

ISU and Southeastern Idaho Public Health will join to use a new freezer at ISU to store shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius. The freezer is designed to hold a variety of items, including tissue samples, DNA and RNA, according to ISU.

While doses of the vaccine may be in Idaho within a few weeks, the new freezer, which was purchased by SIPH, will not arrive until January 2021. Until then, the vaccine will be kept at ISU.

“We actually got two of these freezers for our labs in Pocatello early this year but only began using one of them before the pandemic caused us to move to distance-based instruction and significantly impacted our research,” Schulte said in a statement. “We didn’t even fully unwrap the second one, but we knew we would need it eventually. I’m glad that they will be able to use it.”

With the vaccine right around the corner, ISU says the university has been working with local hospitals to set students up to help immunize people. Student pharmacists are trained in their first year to give flu shots, they can be used as a "valuable" resource to help deliver both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“That’s going to be where we can help the most, by having students available to give shots,” says Dr. Kevin Cleveland, assistant dean and director of the Office of Experiential Education for the College of Pharmacy in a statement. “Our students are experienced. We’re ready to go out into pharmacies or other locations and administer vaccines. The drive-up flu shot clinics we have already done helped prepare the students in an even more realistic scenario to be ready for the COVID vaccine.”