Grayson County purchases freezer for vaccines

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Grayson County Health Authority Dr. Jerry Bennett vaccinates Ashlea Allen at a shot clinic at Sherman High School in this file photo from a couple of weeks ago. Those clinics continued this week with people being vaccinated off the county's waiting list.

Grayson County is working to be prepared to get more vaccine and vaccinate more people quickly that includes the purchase of a freezer to hold the Pfizer vaccine.

Exactly how to get that done was a topic of discussion during Tuesday's meeting of the Grayson County Commissioners.

Commissioner Jeff Whitmire started the discussion of vaccines and vaccinations by praising the shot clinics the county has been holding at the old Sherman High School. Those clinics have been a partnership between the county, Texoma Medical Center and Sherman Independent School District and have made it possible for the county to vaccinate people who have been signed up on the county's waiting list for the vaccine.

It was noted that more than 7,000 people on the county's vaccination list, and there is a shortage of vaccine.

Grayson County Judge Bill Magers thanked people for being patient in waiting for the vaccine saying that at the end of this week, the county won't have many doses left to give out. While GC is supposed to get more next week, Magers said there is no telling how much they will get.

"Our freezer should arrive on Friday," he explained that the freezer was purchased to hold the Pfizer vaccine.  "But for some reason, somebody in the government wants us to sit on it for two weeks (before using it)."

After the meeting, Grayson County Health Department Director Amanda Ortez said the two-week period is so that the county can track that the freezer is able to maintain the proper temperature for the vaccine storage. 

Information on the Center for Disease Control's website said the Pfizer vaccine must be stored in, an ultra cold freezer with temperatures between -112°F and -76°F.

Grayson County Office of Emergency Management is anticipating that most, if not eventually all, of the cost of the freezer will be reimbursed to the county.   

The freezer will be housed at the GCHD's Sherman office and it is anticipated that the freezer will be able to hold several hundred doses of vaccine should state allocate that much to the county at one time. 

"Having the ability to properly store both brand of vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) will allow the Grayson County Health Department to receive either vaccine and use it to vaccinate more individuals," Ortez said.

Magers  anticipates in the next couple of weeks the supply of vaccines should increase in Grayson County, but that still doesn't mean that in that timeframe there will be enough vaccine on hand to get it to everyone who wants it. 

Magers said the county will continue to try to get as much vaccine as it can get and get it out to people as quickly as they possibly can.