A Seattle hospital fridge malfunction led to a frenzied in a single day inoculation drive.
Hundreds of people wore robes, pajamas, or whatever else they could get into quickly and flocked to Seattle Thursday night to get Covid vaccines after a 1,600-dose refrigerator broke, resulting in an overnight mad vaccination.
The spontaneous vaccinations began after a refrigerator malfunctioned at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Seattle, which meant the Moderna vaccines it contained had to be injected quickly, otherwise they would become less effective and would have to be thrown away. Health officials reached out to two other hospital systems in the city, and an urgent call was posted around 11 p.m. alerting residents that if they could come right away, they rarely had a chance to get vaccines.
“We need to get those 1,600 doses into people’s arms in the next 12 hours,” said Susan Mullaney, Kaiser’s regional president for Washington, at a virtual press conference Friday, describing the hospital’s call to action.
Within minutes, there were long lines outside at least two medical centers, and by 3:30 a.m. all vaccines had been administered, hospital officials said.
In interviews with local TV stations, the arriving patients said they had relaxed at home, washed dishes, or watched the news when they saw that they suddenly had the chance to get a chance. One couple said their daughter called after they were in bed to say she had them scheduled for an appointment at 1 a.m.
“We didn’t have time to get dressed, so I just came as I am,” said the mother, pointing to her husband, who was wearing a bathrobe.
The Seattle situation was just the most recent case where a breakdown in the vaccination process forced health officials to give the vaccines to anyone they could find. It also highlights the challenge posed by the two vaccines approved to date in the US – both must be kept cold. Earlier this week, health workers stuck in an Oregon blizzard walked from car to car asking stranded drivers if they wanted a shot after discovering the cans they were carrying might expire while they waited on the freeway.
Seattle hospital officials told local news outlets that they had tried to prioritize elderly patients and others already eligible for vaccines in the state, but said their first priority was getting all vaccines out before it expired .
“We’re tired, but we’re excited,” said Kevin Brooks, chief operating officer of Swedish health care, one of two hospitals that administered the vaccines, in a statement. “It was touching to see grandmas being vaccinated in wheelchairs at 2am.”
Ms. Mullaney, the emperor’s regional president, said that every refrigerator and freezer at the Seattle site has since been tested and they are all working properly.