Now that coronavirus vaccines are finally here, people are lining up to get them—and healthcare workers are doing everything in their power to make sure that they do.
During last Tuesday’s snowstorm, when one dedicated inoculation crew found themselves stranded in a traffic jam, rather than let vaccine doses expire, they hopped out of their vehicles and went car to car looking for volunteers to receive the potentially life-saving shots.
After a day spent doling out vaccinations at various locations, Josephine County Public Health Director Michael Weber and 20 colleagues were on their way back to home base in Grants Pass, Oregon with six vaccine doses leftover. Stuck in a snowbound line of cars behind an accident, Weber quickly realized they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines must be stored in subzero conditions prior to use. They only have a six-hour shelf life once they reach room temperature.
With the vaccine’s viability window closing, rather than let the precious cargo go to waste, Weber leaped into action. “We knew the vaccine would not make it back to Grants Pass,” he told The Washington Post. “In all likelihood, it was going to expire. I decided to start going door-to-door, car-to-car, offering the vaccine.”
Heading a small caravan bearing pre-filled hypodermics, medical supplies, and a big umbrella, Weber and four team members began canvassing motorists on the highway for likely candidates. After 45 minutes, all the remaining doses were distributed.
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The six lucky people who got the unexpected shot in the arm were elated. One “vaccinatee” was so psyched, he jumped out of his car and stripped off his shirt in the blizzard to get his injection.
And finally, in a quintessential “somebody up there likes me” moment, the last dose went to a woman who’d missed her scheduled appointment that same day. She was thrilled.
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Weber and his crew were pretty pleased with the outcome as well. “I can’t imagine a better way to spend four hours stuck in a snowstorm,” he said.
Neither can we.
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