Dr. Ellen Hodges (right) and nurse Melissa Tefft prepare doses of Covid-19 vaccine delivered via bush plane. Photo courtesy Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. - Southwestern Alaska
Icy, Remote Alaska Has an Edge in Covid Vaccination
In much of the U.S., healthcare workers are involved in a delicate dance: making sure they defrost coronavirus vaccines at just the right time so the serum doesn’t get too warm, rendering it useless before it can be used. Alaska health official Dr. Ellen Hodges has the opposite problem.
As she sat on a frozen runway in the back of a small, single-propeller airplane during the state’s first round of jabs, Hodges had to tuck doses in her coat to keep them warm enough to be administered.
“The wind chill was probably 25 below, and that causes the vaccine to freeze in the metal part of the needle,” Hodges says.
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