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Fresno State Loans Low-Temp Freezer to Community Medical Centers for COVID-19 Vaccines

FRESNO — A collaboration between Fresno State and Community Medical Centers will provide a much-needed, low-temperature freezer to the hospital system that is capable of holding up to 95,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine front-line medical providers and others.

Freezers that can cool down to at least minus-70 degrees Celsius are in high demand and short supply right now, since that’s the cooling capacity needed for doses of the Pfizer vaccine, now being distributed in the U.S. The Thermo Scientific Revco Series ultra-low temperature freezer can cool down to minus-86 degrees Celsius.

The brand new freezer, purchased for use by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Fresno State, was in the Jordan Agricultural Research Center. Fresno State and Community Medical Centers quickly came to an agreement to allow for a loan of the equipment, and Community picked up the freezer on Dec. 7, transporting it downtown where it will be ready for use when the vaccines arrive.

“We thank Fresno State for its generosity and all our community partners that have helped us meet the unique challenges of this pandemic,” said Matt Joslin, vice president for Community Medical Centers. “We are grateful for our longstanding relationship with the University and their willingness to work with us to help solve critical issues in our community. Their efforts will make a significant, positive impact for the health care providers in our region.”

Dr. Joy Goto, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, explained how the freezer was available. “When Fresno State moved quickly to virtual instruction during the shutdown in March, research in our department was delayed or drastically reduced to ensure the safety of our graduate and undergraduate students who conduct the research in our laboratories. The new freezer arrived at the end of March when research was halted in our department.”

Several departments across campus use the research space located in the Jordan Agricultural Research Center.

Dr. Michael Thomas, a faculty member with the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, said, “Community Medical Centers has been an exemplary partner to the University over the years, and we are glad to be in the position to assist them with the present need for vaccine storage.”

This isn’t the first partnership between the two entities, Thomas said. In 2016, Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno donated about $175,000 worth of medical supplies for refugee medical centers in the nation of Jordan that were delivered during a humanitarian mission by a group of emerging leaders from the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, closely associated with Fresno State for over 50 years.

“We are happy to reciprocate by helping them with the critical need for vaccine storage space,” Thomas said. “Our goal is to do all we can to protect our community. We can best help our region by helping CRMC protect those at most risk with the new vaccine. Our thanks to CRMC for their efforts and to all those in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, the College of Science and Mathematics and Procurement and Support Services, all of whom worked quickly to make this happen.”

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