Power outage prompts Texas officials to quickly distribute 5,000+ COVID-19 vaccines

The Harris County (Texas) Health Department rushed to administer more than 5,000 vaccine doses Feb. 15 after a harsh winter storm left the Houston facility without power, ABC News reported. 

After the power loss, which affected much of the state, the facility's backup generator also failed, leaving 8,430 doses of Moderna vaccine at risk of spoiling. 

Houston health officials were able to distribute about 5,410 doses. The Harris County jail received 3,000 doses, Methodist Hospital received 1,000, Rice University got 810, and 600 doses were split between LBJ Hospital and Ben Taub Hospital, according to ABC News. 

"We were looking for places where there were already large numbers of people, or where there were nurses, trained medical professionals who could administer the vaccines, and where we wouldn't need folks to drive somewhere in this very dangerous weather and snow conditions," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at a Feb. 15 news conference. 

The county then received guidance from Moderna that the remaining doses could be re-refrigerated for later use, Ms. Hidalgo added. Those doses will be administered to people on the health department's existing wait list. 


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