Freezers at UF Health Shands ready for doses of COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 Vaccine

CDC vaccine advisers voted to recommend the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, and freezers at UF Health Shands are ready to receive a share of Florida’s allotted 190,000 doses.

According to UF Health Spokesperson Ken Garcia, the chest-style freezer opens at the top and stands roughly 4 feet by 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet.

The freezer is able to maintain the required temperature to store the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine of -70 degrees Celsius and according to Garcia, UF Health also has backup freezers if needed.

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Alachua County Health Department Director Paul Myers announced earlier in the week to the Board of County Commissioners that Florida will receive at least 190,000 vaccines as early as next week, and that UF Health Shands will be one of the five hospitals in the state selected to distribute it.

“UF Health Shands is still working out the details of how distribution will work at our Gainesville campus, but we expect a team to be charged with inventory and distribution,” Garica said.

According to Myers, the order of distribution is as follows:

1. Healthcare workers and first responders

2. High risk individuals and those in congregate settings such as long-term care facilities

3. Essential essential workers and individuals with underlying health conditions

4. Workers in general  settings, children, and young adults

5. Remaining unvaccinated population

The vaccine is administered in two increments with the second dose administered 21 days after the first.

According to Myers, once the phase one population is saturated with the vaccine, the effort moves on to the second phase.

Myers also addressed misinformation about the vaccine.

“COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19,” he said and explained that recipients might feel aches after receiving it which means the body is building up a defense system.

COVID-19 vaccine

“Let’s all get onboard and if it’s indicated for you, please get it,” Myers said.

In the last four days, the U.S. added 1 million more cases. In Florida, the last four days (Dec. 8th to Dec. 11th) have yielded 42,519 cases.

According to the FDOH COVID-19 Dashboard, there are 1,116,973 cumulative cases in Florida. 


As of 5 p.m. on Dec. 12th, Alachua County COVID-19 cases reached 13,971 with 672 hospitalizations and 106 deaths since March.

For more information about cases and trends in Alachua County click here for the Alachua County COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard.

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