LAS VEGAS (FOX5)-- The UNLV School of Medicine is prepared to store COVID-19 vaccines following distribution.
UNLV has a medical grade freezer that is cable of storing vaccines made by Pfizer, which requires a temperature of -80 degrees Celsius.
Dr. Michael Gardner, CEO of UNLV School of Medicine, said this is nothing but good news.
"That particular vaccine which we do think will be the first one we'll get does require storage at this very low temperature before it can be thawed and given,” said Dr. Gardner.
Dr. Gardner said it’s impressive a vaccine is almost ready in a matter of months compared to years.
"The fact that we've been able to get to this point, where we're talking literally today, where the first person is asking for approval, in less than a year is nothing short of amazing,” Dr. Gardner said.
The vaccine will come in what is being described as “bricks.” Each brick will hold 50 vials, each vial will be able to give about 10 vaccinations. In total the freezer will hold and help distribute 50,000 doses.
"If you think about that, that's a vaccine for 25,000 people because both the Pfizer and Moderna look like they will require two doses," Dr. Gardner said.
Johnson & Johnson is working on a one-shot vaccine for next year.
The doctor said there’s no such thing as zero ris, but it appears small. "There's probably people with a sore arm like all of us get with a tetanus shot, but as far as significant complications, they really haven't seen those," Dr. Gardner said.
He just hopes once it’s ready, people vaccinate.
"We can have all the vaccines in the world stored in this freezer, but if people don’t actually get the vaccines, get the vaccinations, don't get the shots, it's not going to get us where we need to be,” Dr.Gardner said.
He went onto say its important health care workers work with high risk communities. “The elderly, our our African American, Latino-Latina communities that have taken the brunt of the deaths and the tragedy of COVID, we need those communities to understand this is potentially live saving for them and their families," Dr. Garner said.
UNLV Medicine is working with the State Health Department and the Southern Nevada Health District as far as how it will be distributed.
In October, the state released “Nevada’s COVID-19 Vaccination playbook,” which details how the state will receive, handle distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccine to residents.
The plan is based on the CDC’s guidance to a phased availability of vaccines within the state. First responders, long term care facility workers and frontline public health workers are some of the workforce considered in “Tier 1.” “Tier” 2 workforce include education and childcare staff, essential public transportation and food processing workers.
UNLV was able to purchase the freezer after receiving a large private donation that wishes to remain anonymous.