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UArizona 'freezer farm' capable of storing more than 1.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 6:20 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 08:22:10-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) - The University of Arizona has created a so-called 'freezer farm' to help store COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The freezer farm has the capability of storing more than 1.6 million doses of the vaccine, according to David Harris, the executive director of the University of Arizona Health Sciences Repository.

Harris told KGUN9 the university brought together 10 of these special freezers to create the freezer farm. Seven of the freezers will store the Pfizer vaccine, while the remaining three are expected to store the Moderna vaccine, once it's approved and available.

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“We have three other sort of middle range freezers for storage and distribution of the Moderna vaccine," said Harris.

The main purpose of the freezer farm is to help healthcare centers in southern Arizona that might not have the technology available to them.

“Most of the hospitals and the medical clinics around the city and this part of Arizona don’t have access to -80 degree freezers and we have those," said Harris.

Harris told KGUN9 the freezer farm is not meant to store vaccine doses for a long time, instead the hope is to help store secondary doses and those that are expected to be used next year.

“We want them to come in and go out fairly quickly," he said.

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While security is a big concern when it comes to the vaccine, Harris said university officials have it taken care of.

“They are under constant 24/7 surveillance through cameras, requires key card access to get in and not just a single key card but it requires two individuals with separate key cards and separate pin codes to get in," said Harris.

He told KGUN9 he expects COVID-19 vaccine doses will begin being stored in the freezer farm as soon as next week.