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A California hospital had to race to jab hundreds of people with the COVID-19 vaccine after a freezer storing the doses broke down, according to a report.
The power failure was discovered in a freezer containing 830 Moderna doses around 11:35 a.m. Monday at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times and CBS News reported.
The vaccine had already begun thawing because the alarm that’s supposed to alert on any outages wasn’t working either — sending hospital workers into a mad rush to salvage the potentially life-saving inoculations.
“At that point it was all hands on deck, drop everything,” Adventist spokeswoman Cici Winiger told the Los Angeles Times.
Medical staff estimated that they probably had about two hours to distribute the doses before they would be rendered useless, the paper reported.
Staffers agreed that they should disregard the state’s guidelines about who should be prioritized for the vaccine if it meant using all of the doses.
Some of the vials were sent to the county and a nearby nursing home to be administered, but around 600 were left, the paper reported.
The hospital first called on every available medical professional to show up to one of four sites to give the shots or monitor those receiving them.
“We had nurses, pharmacists, physicians, even those that are not part of the hospital, coming to help,” Judson Howe, president for Adventist Health in Mendocino County, told the newspaper.
The hospital alerted employees via text that anyone who showed up to the sites could have the shot.
“We just told them, ‘Tell everyone you know,’” Winiger told the newspaper. “We just wanted to make sure none of this goes to waste.”
Staffers and patients who had heard about the distribution quickly began forming lines, CBS reported.
The shipment was completely distributed within two hours, forcing staffers to turn away around 120 people after they ran out, Winiger said.
“I was just thinking in my head, can you imagine if we had more time to do this?” Winiger said.
“If this is how we do a massive vaccination later, we are golden. We can do this.”
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