A California hospital administered 600 coronavirus vaccine shots within 2 hours after discovering its freezer had broken

  • A California hospital administered 600 coronavirus vaccines in two hours on Monday after one of its freezers malfunctioned, the Los Angeles Times reported.
  • The freezer had been storing shots of Moderna's vaccine, which must be stored between 2 and 8 Celsius, or used within 12 hours once it hits room temperature.
  • Staff at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center, in Mendocino County, discovered the faulty freezer at 11:35 a.m. and that the solutions were warming up, the LA Times reported.
  • The center quickly launched four pop-up vaccination centers, and the drive saved the doses from going to waste.
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A California hospital administered 600 coronavirus vaccine shots in just two hours after its freezer malfunctioned, the Los Angeles Times reported.

At 11:35 a.m. on Monday, staff members at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County, discovered that their freezer, containing 830 doses of Moderna's vaccine, had been inactive for hours, the Times reported.

According to the Times, the compressor on the freezer had stopped for hours, and the alarm did not go off.

Moderna's vaccine must be stored frozen or at up to 8 degrees Celsius in refrigerators. However, if the solution hits room temperature, it must be administered within 12 hours.

By the time the Mendocino County hospital workers discovered the freezer failure, the vaccine shots had been warming up, the Times said. They estimated they had two hours to give out the shots, or face losing them, the newspaper said.

"It was not how my day was planned," Cici Winiger, an Adventist spokeswoman, told the Times. "At that point it was all hands on deck, drop everything."

The medical center set up four pop-up vaccination sites across the county and spread the news among staff that vaccines were available and needed to be used.

"We just told them 'Tell everyone you know,'" Winiger said. "We just wanted to make sure none of this goes to waste."

Six hundred doses were successfully administered in just two hours at the sites, The Times said — meaning 1.25 people were inoculated every minute during that drive. A number of people were turned away when stocks were exhausted, the Times said.

Forty doses went to staff members at an elderly care facility nearby, and 200 doses were returned to Mendocino County government — 97 of which were used on staff at the Los Angeles County Jail that day, the Times said.

California is currently home some of the worst COVID-19 case and mortality numbers in the US. On Monday, more than 70,000 cases were reported, a new record for daily case numbers in the state.

More than 9,140 new cases and 77 new deaths were reported in Los Angeles County, one of the worst hit, on Monday.

The same day, the Los Angeles County's Emergency Medical Services said in a memo that, to "conserve oxygen" during the COVID-19 outbreak, medics should only give oxygen to patients with oxygen levels below 90%.

Mendocino County, where the hospital is located, is much better off than the rest of the state, but an outbreak at the Mendocino County Jail has seen 63 inmates and 13 staff test positive for COVID-19, KRCR reported on Saturday.

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