Freezer Failure Prompts Madcap Vaccine Giveaway


After a freezer storing doses of the Moderna vaccine broke down at a Seattle medical center, healthcare workers and volunteers scrambled to dole out as many vaccinations as possible before they went bad.

Experts still haven’t determined why the freezer failed, The Seattle Times reports. But the end result was a mad dash of people clamoring for a shot, cheering when others were chosen from the crowd, and forming lines around the block in a bid for one of the 800 available doses well into early Friday morning.

“I received a call this evening at 9 o’clock and learned a Kaiser freezer went down and could we help vaccinate people before the doses expired at 5:30 in the morning?” Jenny Bracket, an assistant administrator at UW Medicine, told The Seattle Times.

Healthcare workers and volunteers scrambled throughout the night to use up as many vaccines as they possibly could. And while the night’s energy better matches a fun gameshow than a mad dash to administer life-saving vaccines during a deadly pandemic, it also underscores just how fragile the current vaccine supply chain is.

Between requiring special freezers — like the one that broke down in Seattle — and two separate injections to properly inoculate people against COVID-19, the logistics of the vaccine distribution plan have been a serious challenge.

So while the hundreds who were vaccinated last night probably felt like they won the lottery — “Heaven,” one exclaimed, according to the Seattle Times — the fact that this sudden scramble happened at all illustrates how much we’re all depending on a fragile process.

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