TIJUANA (Border Report) — Baja California officials have acknowledged the state doesn’t have the necessary “ultra cold” warehouse space to store the COVID-19 vaccine.
They’ve also admitted health workers in the state, the first in line to get vaccinated, won’t get the shots until the week of Jan. 10 at the earliest.
“We’ll have to provide the vaccines from Pfizer as soon as they arrive to medical personnel,” said Secretary of Health Alonso Pérez Rico. “We are expecting the vaccine to arrive in about seven days; Pfizer requires ultra-cold storage that we don’t have. In fact, most of the country doesn’t have it so the vaccine has to be applied right away.”
According to Pérez Rico, the materials are shipped in special ice chests containing 100 doses.
“We have to have 100 people ready at a time to get vaccinated,” Pérez Rico said . “We’ll have to organize the process, it has to be done this way.”
Pérez Rico insists medical personnel who work in public facilities in cities such as Tijuana will be vaccinated by Jan. 15. He said healthcare workers in private medical facilities will be next in line to get vaccinated.
Those applying the vaccine will have to get trained on how to work with the vials, which are stored at temperatures 70 degrees below zero.
“They will have to learn how to remove them before applying them,” Pérez Rico said. “It’s not that simple like taking the vaccine out and giving it out, you have to sort of protect it, so it doesn’t spoil.”
Once medical workers are provided with the vaccine, seniors over the age of 80 will follow.
But Pérez Rico says seniors and others thereafter will get another type of vaccine that doesn’t require the ultra-cold storage.
“Aside from Pfizer, CanSinoBio and AstraZeneca have developed vaccines,” he said. “Moderna has one too, but we have not contemplated using it in Baja California.”
According to state health officials, they hope to have enough vaccine to launch wide-scale vaccinations to the public by April.