Oakland County Installs 10 Extreme Temperature Freezers in Anticipation of Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine

The Oakland County Health Division has received and installed 10 medical-grade laboratory freezers which are equipped to handle extreme temperatures in anticipation of receiving its first allotments of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The freezers were installed in various health division facilities as officials await federal government approval and distribution of the vaccine. The freezers, which cost a total of about $400,000 and is being paid for with federal CARES Act funding, can keep temperatures as cold as -86 degrees Celsius. One of the vaccines, manufactured by Pfizer, requires the vaccine to be kept at -70 C. A first shipment of the vaccine is expected next week.

“We are anxious to get the vaccine to our first responders and health care workers as soon as they arrive,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said. “We moved quickly to ensure we had the adequate storage capability to meet the needs of the county. As more vaccine arrives, we will move on to additional priority groups working hand in glove with our health experts.

The County launched a new public education campaign this week to emphasize how important it was to keep wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and stay home when sick to stop the spread of the virus.

This campaign, “You can’t beat it unless you face it,” brings together the community around the commonsense steps we must all take until the vaccine is widely available.

Each freezer weighs 723 pounds and can hold 144,000 doses of the vaccine. During one installation today, a freezer needed to be partially disassembled to make it to its ultimate destination, including the handles, cooler grill disassembled, handles and various brackets. Two doors also had to be temporarily removed from the door casing as the unit went through five doorways.

A crew of four delivery men, four staff from the county Facilities Maintenance & Operations and an electrician were needed to unload and moved the units. The freezers are equipped with alarms to ensure a consistent temperature and are monitored around the clock.

The Health Division will administer the vaccine at the same drive-through locations in the county that perform free COVID-19 testing and give flu shots.

Appointments for testing and flu shots are required and can be made by calling 1-800-848-5533. Same day appointments are not available.

Locations

  • Monday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Old Holly Fire Station
    313 S. Broad St., Holly
  • Tuesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Rochester Fire Station
    277 E. Second St., Rochester
  • Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Southfield City Hall
    Employee Parking Deck
    26000 Evergreen Rd., Southfield
  • Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Pontiac Fire Station
    348 South Blvd. W., Pontiac