Healthcare workers at a Northern California hospital decided to administer more than 800 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines within two hours. The medical experts wanted to vaccinate as many people as possible through a "first-come, first-served basis". But what is the reason behind the rush?

According to the authorities at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center, a freezer that used to store the Moderna vaccines was found to be at room temperature. Judson Howe of Adventist Health said that an alarm that was supposed to caution the hospital workers about the temperature change had also malfunctioned.

disappearing needles
More than 800 vaccines given to people in California within 2 hours Twitter

Even though, unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine does not need ultra-cold storage, at room temperature these vaccines have a shelf life of about 12 hours. When the hospital authority identified the issue they contacted Moderna and did not get a response. So, they decided to vaccinate as many people as possible within two hours.

Howe said that the main job is that every vaccine dose should be given to people. "We reached out to the county public health officer and informed them of the situation and with a collaborative approach, we were able to administer all 830 vaccines in a matter of two hours," he added.

As of now, in California, almost 27 percent of the vaccines that have been distributed have been given to the people. This week, Governor Gavin Newsom promised "aggressive action to accelerate the vaccination effort.

Use It or Lose It

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine (representational image)

Carmel Angelo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the County of Mendocino, said, "We had a 'use it or lose it' unanticipated event."

He appreciated the quick notification of Adventist Health and thanked the nurses of NaphCare, the health care provider for county inmates, for administering the vaccines and to the Sheriff's Office for providing space and staff support. "We hope this never happens again, but we did learn that we can mobilize quickly to serve our community," said Angelo.

Medical officer Dr. Bessant Parker said that the emergency was "all hands on deck," and he also was "running around" to help coordinate the process. Understanding how crucial the situation was, healthcare workers at the California hospital focused on vaccinating as many people as possible within the tiers. At least 200 people who showed up to get the vaccine shot were turned away and those who got the jab received CDC cards for tracking purposes. As per Howe, the authorities faced a tough situation and they decided not to let any vaccine go waste.