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Pharmacies prepare generators in case of winter weather-related power outages

In light of the snow and freezing rain expected tonight, pharmacies are preparing contingency plans to keep the COVID-19 vaccine frozen in case of power outages.

HERSHEY, Pa. — In light of the snow and freezing rain expected tonight, pharmacies are preparing contingency plans to keep the COVID-19 vaccine properly frozen in case of power outages.

The Moderna vaccine is stored at -4 degrees Fahrenheit, while the Pfizer vaccine is stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit.

A power outage could affect the freezers holding vaccine doses.

Many local and national pharmacies keep backup generators onsite or nearby for such emergencies.

Hershey Pharmacy in Derry Township has backup generators it can transport to its three locations.

“We don’t have the luxury of being down in a snow storm or a power outage,” said Chadd Blannet, the pharmacy’s director of marketing. “We have centrally located generators that we then dole out to each store so we can power up all of our emergency operation systems and now these freezers, so we’re ready to go without missing a beat.”

Walgreens wrote via email that they keep a backup generator in every store to prepare for power outages.

Rite Aid said they have backup generators in many stores and can transport them quickly between stores when needed.

CVS Pharmacy wrote in an email,

“Our pharmacies follow a well-defined process for cold chain management and storage of all pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, and we have a monitoring processes in place in the event of power outages or other disruptions.

It should be noted that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is stored in the supplier’s ultra-cold shippers with dry ice, so power outages would not affect their product.”