BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in just days, and hospital workers will be among the first to get it.

The Unversity of Maryland Medical System is making special preparations to get it out as fast as possible.

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Freezers have been specially ordered for University of Maryland hospitals. They’re not common but are essential for the medical system to get out Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Gary Tuggle is the UMMS Deputy Incident Commander for COVID-19.


“The Pfizer vaccine has a very unique temperature requirement,” he said. “It’s required to be kept at approximately 70 to 80 degrees below freezing.”

Tuggle said the vaccine shipment will initially go to four hospitals acting as receiving hubs before being distributed to the medical system’s other locations.

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He can’t say how much they’ll be receiving but did note that the first round of doses won’t be enough for every worker.

“It could be clinicians, environmental service workers, food service workers, again those who are at highest risk,” Tuggle said.

But even after they get vaccinated, their hospitals will still be taking just as many precautions.

“We will still have the requirements for mask and eye protection throughout all of our hospitals,” Tuggle said.

It’s a critical step in trying to get these workers protected so they can continue to treat the surging number of COVID patients coming through their doors.

“They are on the frontlines, they are administering that care to patients who are COVID positive and so there is a need to protect them so they are able to provide that prolonged service,” Tuggle said.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Stetson Miller