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Maryland prepares to house Pfizer vaccine in 'ultra-cold' freezers

Maryland purchased five freezers ahead of vaccine distribution.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Pfizer said its vaccine is 95% effective and they’ll be applying for emergency use authorization with the FDA within days. But one hurdle some states could face with getting the vaccine—storing it at the proper temperature.

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The state of Maryland is again ahead of the game. 

Gov. Larry Hogan talked about his concern with the spike in coronavirus cases in his state during a Board of Public Works meeting Tuesday.  The state will revert back to Phase 2 on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.

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With Pfizer announcing the effectiveness of the vaccine they’ve produced, they’ve also announced how the drug needs to be cared for. According to Pfizer, the vaccine needs to be stored in freezers that are negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

Director of Procurement Dana Dembrow said the state is prepared to house the vaccine. 

“We have already purchased five such freezers from Frederick... and they were delivered last week," said Dembrow. "So we have 128.5 cubic feet of storage in that very ultra-cold environment. And we've also negotiated with the same vendor, the opportunity to purchase at the same price, any additional freezers that we may need to be delivered in the future that we do not anticipate that.”

Dembrow also said they’ve been in talks with universities that have ultra-cold storage capability. The state is also working on how they would distribute the vaccine in coordination with chain pharmacies and various points of distribution.

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