COVID-19 vaccine to be stored at Kern Medical, elected officials say

December 15, 2020 /

Local health officials say Kern is expected to receive 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the week.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be stored and distributed from Kern Medical to the larger Central Valley region, according to a new release by Assemblymember Rudy Salas’ office.

Kern Medical was able to purchase an “extreme cold freezer” with funding from the state, which will be used to store the vaccines.

“I am thrilled to see that the $5 million we secured for Kern Medical helped purchase an extreme cold freezer, which will store the COVID-19 vaccine for the Central Valley,” said Assemblymember Salas. “Kern Medical will soon start distributing the Pfizer vaccine to our frontline health workers, which will save lives and help treat COVID right here in the Valley.”

According to a new release, Assemblymember Salas secured a total of $5 million to fund Valley Fever research, patient care, prevention through public and physician education and awareness for the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical.

Because of this funding, Kern Medical was able to purchase the freezer, which will now serve a dual purpose with the storage of the COVID-19 vaccine, which must be kept in temperatures ranging from negative 55 to 85 degrees Celsius to help preserve the contents and fast-acting components of the vaccine.

Kern Medical is preparing to receive the vaccine and will distribute it to healthcare workers as a priority, according to the news release. The hospital is also working with other health facilities to ensure a widespread vaccine distribution, once it is available to the general public.

As part of California’s first round of 327,600 Pfizer vaccine doses, 1,005 will be stored at Kern Medical to be distributed to frontline health workers. The Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective, as prescribed, at preventing illness from COVID-19 and provides protection just seven days after immunization.

Featured photo: Public Health Microbiologist Erika Garcia stands next to ultra-cold freezer that will soon be filled with vaccines.