Henry Ford Health System says five hospitals have been approved as COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites.
Additionally, Henry Ford has received and began installing six specialized freezers that can maintain a temperature as low as minus 85 degrees Celsius for the Pfizer vaccine and six other freezers that can reach minus 25 below Celsius for the Moderna vaccine.
Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit will have two of each type of freezer. Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, Michigan, will each have one of each kind of freezer. All five hospitals have been approved as vaccine distribution sites by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“We have been investigating these specialized refrigeration units needed to store these vaccines and preparing our facilities and operations since early summer,” said Ed Szandzik, RPh, MBA, Vice President of Pharmacy Operations at Henry Ford Health System, in a press release.
Henry Ford Health System was the only hospital in Michigan chosen as a Phase 3 trial site for the Moderna mRNA vaccine study.
The health system says many freezers are currently on back order as states, local health departments and healthcare providers across the nation and the world scramble to get them.
“Since we saw this potential need a few months back, we put in our order and made a concerted effort to be very proactive by securing these super freezers early on,” said Szandzik.
Installation of the freezers will be completed by December 1, long before the arrival of the first doses of vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine has been submitted for Emergency Use Authorization and is expected to be reviewed by an FDA Advisory Committee on December 10.
Moderna has indicated that it will also soon apply for Emergency Use Authorization and, if approved, could be available in early January.
Henry Ford Health says Michigan is slated to receive several hundred thousand doses of the 6.4 million doses Pfizer says it will ship before the end of the year, enough to vaccinate 3.2 million people.
The Pfizer vaccine requires 2 doses administered between 3 and 4 weeks apart. It has not been determined how many doses will be received by Henry Ford.