Memorial Health

When the early shipments of the Pfizer vaccine rolls out, Memorial Health System wants to be ready.

The Pfizer vaccine, if it receives the Emergency Use Authorization, is expected to be shipped first and it requires storage at -94 degrees Fahrenheit.

A freezer donated by the National Greyhound Association by Executive Director Jim Gartland was going to be put back to use but Friday it failed.

Tuesday morning another freezer was donated.

Phil Mulanax with the Brown Memorial Foundation and Hank Royer with the Jeffcoat Foundation agreed to donate up to $15,000 for a freezer that can handle storage of the vaccine.

While Harold Courtois, chief executive officer with Memorial Health, said that freezer may not arrive for 60 to 90 days, a freezer is planned to be rented in the meantime.

“We did have a freezer but unfortunately things happen,” he said. “It’s too bad. We appreciate the gesture. That really means a lot that someone was willing to donate a freezer to us. We also appreciate Phil and Hank.”

Courtois said the vaccine doses are going to arrive next year in greater numbers.

“We are looking at a short term ultra-low freezer until we can get the permanent one in,” he said.

The $15,000 donation should easily cover the cost of the freezer. However, Courtois said the rental should fill an early need.

“You have to do what you have to do to take care of the vaccine,” he said. “I just don’t want to sit on my hands and be unprepared when the doses do come in because they are going to come in.”

The Pfizer will be what the front-line health care workers will receive. It requires a second dose at 21 days.

The vaccine

“There is some immunity after the first dose. If we want maximum immunity, it requires a second dose. Seven days after that second dose, a person should have received maximum immunity,” he said. “Those people will develop antibodies for the virus.”

There is also a Moderna vaccine. It doesn’t require the low-temperature freezer and a second vaccine is given in 28 days.

“The biggest trick with those vaccines is keeping track of who got them and making sure we get them back in for the second dose,” he said. “There are some people that just won’t follow up.”

He said some people with allergies to food and certain medication, just like with the flu vaccine, shouldn’t take the coronavirus vaccine.

Contact Tim Horan at

Contact Tim Horan at

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