State health department names 16 places with ultra-cold freezers to store COVID-19 vaccine

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced Wednesday that it has identified 16 locations statewide with ultra-cold freezers that can store a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

The locations were chosen because of their geography, their ability to redistribute vaccines, and the fact that they can keep vaccines at between -60 and -80 degrees Celsius.

The CDPHE said the exact locations are confidential due to security reasons. However, they are in the following counties:

  • Alamosa
  • Arapahoe
  • Denver
  • Eagle
  • El Paso
  • Gunnison
  • Jefferson
  • La Plata
  • Lincoln 
  • Logan
  • Mesa
  • Pueblo
  • Otero
  • Routt
  • Weld

“Several of these locations are already equipped with existing ultra-low temperature freezers. CDPHE has purchased and will distribute an additional 10 ultra low temperature freezers,” the CDPHE said in a statement.

The health department added that the 16 locations are not the only ones that will store, distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

“CDPHE continues to enroll Phase 1 providers all throughout Colorado in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. Approximately 200 vaccine provider locations will be enrolled in Phase 1,” the department said.

Hospitals will play a huge role for staffing and administering the vaccines.

“It’s a big operation but I think lots of really smart people have been working on this,” said UCHealth Medical Director of Infection Prevention Michelle Barron. “It’s going to be sent to us in shipments and over time, there will be enough for everybody.”

Barron sits on the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee. Because of UCHealth’s network across the state, she says they’ve been coordinating with local health departments to make sure they’re doing things in tandem.

Barron says they’re ready to take what they can get when it comes to the different types of vaccines coming to market, once they’re approved by the Food and Drug Administration and distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If we get 50 percent one, 20 percent another, 30 percent of the other, we will take it and we will run with it,” Barron said.

The state will determine which groups will get priority for vaccinations. Barron wants to remind people that there is still plenty of research to be done with COVID vaccines.

“Just because you get a vaccine doesn’t mean you can hang out with 30 people and not wear a mask,” Barron said. “I know we’re tired and very impatient, but if you really think about what’s happened, it’s extraordinary.”

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