Harris Co. raced to dole out 8,400 vaccines after power outage

Harris County health officials sprung into action on Monday after extreme winter weather caused a power outage at one of their facilities, shutting down a freezer holding 8,400 vials of Moderna vaccines.

In a press conference, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the vaccines were found in the powerless freezer overnight. Experts contacted Moderna to see if there was any way to save the doses and also began working to see where they could administer the most vaccines around the county before the temperature of the vials decreased.

A team at Houston Methodist said they received 1,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines from the county's supply, and acted quickly on filling appointments to administer them all.

"We didn't waste a drop. It was great for our community that we were able to quickly administer these much needed vaccines in the middle of the storm," said executive vice president of Houston Methodist Hospital, Roberta Schwartz.

Additional vaccines went to places where large amounts of people prepared to get the shot, according to Hidalgo. Ben Taub Hospital and LBJ Hospital received 600 doses, the Harris County Jail received 3,000 doses, and Rice University received 800 doses.

Hidalgo said that Moderna responded to their concerns hours later and advised that vials can be re-refrigerated within a certain amount of time.

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