COVID-19 Vaccine to be Stored and Distributed from Kern Medical

A press release from the office of Assemblymember Salas

BAKERSFIELD – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) and local healthcare workers celebrated the announcement that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine would be stored and distributed from Kern Medical to the larger Central Valley region. This effort was made possible through $5 million in funding that Assemblymember Salas secured in the state budget. This funding allowed Kern Medical to purchase an extreme cold freezer, which will now be used to store the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I am thrilled to see that the $5 million we secured for Kern Medical helped purchase an extreme cold freezer, which will store the COVID-19 vaccine for the Central Valley,” said Assemblymember Salas. “Kern Medical will soon start distributing the Pfizer vaccine to our frontline health workers, which will save lives and help treat COVID right here in the Valley.”

Assemblymember Salas fought to secure a total of $5 million to fund Valley Fever research, patient care, prevention through public and physician education and awareness for the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical. Because of this funding, Kern Medical was able to purchase an extreme cold freezer, which will now serve a dual purpose with the storage of the COVID-19 vaccine, which must be kept in temperatures ranging from negative 55 to 85 degrees Celsius to help preserve the contents and fast-acting components of the vaccine.

“Assemblyman Salas has been, and continues to be, an advocate for individuals in the Central Valley fighting Valley Fever,” said Russell Judd, CEO at Kern Medical.

“Assemblyman Salas helped the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical secure funding for a Cardinal Health Ultra-low Temperature Freezer (ULT Freezer), which is now being used in battle against COVID-19. The freezer has the capacity to store over 70,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be given to our frontline healthcare workers and help save countless lives throughout our community. We are honored to be able to serve our community during these unprecedented times and are grateful for the support of Assemblyman Salas.”

Kern Medical is currently preparing to receive the vaccine and will distribute it to healthcare workers as a priority. They are also working with other health facilities to ensure a widespread vaccine distribution, once it is available to the general public.

As part of California’s first round of 327,600 Pfizer vaccine doses, 1,005 will be stored at Kern Medical to be distributed to frontline health workers. The Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective, as prescribed, at preventing illness from COVID-19 and provides protection just seven days after immunization.

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