Monterey Bay Aquarium loans ultra-cold freezer to store COVID-19 vaccines at Natividad Hospital

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine continues to be distributed across the country and stored safely in industrial freezers.

In Monterey County, Natividad Hospital now has one of those freezers -- thanks to an unsuspecting source.

After months of struggles fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the country are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We have started to see the vaccines arrive and we really see that as really our only pathway out of the pandemic," Natividad Hospital Operations & Support Services and Assistant Administrator Andrea Rosenberg said. "So, there's a lot of hope and excitement at the hospital with the arrival of these vaccines."

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But even with such good news, an issue presented itself.

"We had placed an order for an ultra-cold freezer months ago," Rosenberg said. "It's not due to arrive until sometime in January."

The Pfizer vaccine must be held safely at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit in special industrial freezers, something that the hospital didn't have on hand when vaccines arrived in mid-December.

So, an unsuspecting community staple stepped up to help the hospital.

"We recognize that we are one community here in Monterey County, so this is a very concrete and tangible way that we can contribute to getting our county healthy again," Monterey Bay Aquarium Public Affairs Director Barbara Meister said.

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Since the coronavirus started spreading across the globe in late 2019, scientists have been looking for a vaccine. Now that vaccines are proven, it will ultimately be up to each state to determine who will get the vaccine, and when?



A freezer normally used in the Animal Husbandry Clinic of the Monterey Bay Aquarium was transported to Natividad Hospital and now stores the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine.

The loaned freezer comes by way of the Monterey County COVID-19 collaborative, in which leaders from different sectors within the county help their local community any way they can.

Health officials in the county have deemed that the community, especially farm workers, in Monterey County must be healthy and get healthy in order to reopen the economy.

With this collaborative, Monterey Bay Aquarium continues to do their part to help.

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"The aquarium, they're not just a great attraction to go visit, they really wanted to help us out and figure out a way in which they could put their mark on being able to move us forward with our only pathway out of the pandemic," Rosenberg said.

"Being part of the COVID-19 collaborative, being able to loan this ultra-cold freezer to Natividad Hospital is all part of getting our county healthy again, so that our economy can reopen again," Meister said. "And, with that, the Monterey Bay Aquarium will be able to reopen again."

A community that comes together, is stronger together.

That's true in Monterey County.

For more information about Natividad Hospital, visit this page.

For more information about the Monterey Bay Aquarium, visit this page.

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