North Texas Fire Department Ready to Distribute COVID Vaccine

When approved, the Allen Fire Department is prepared to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine

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For all the attention on getting a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine approved, that's really only the first step.

The next big challenge will be distributing it across the country, and one North Texas city is prepared more than most.

Allen firefighters are on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus. But one way they're prepared for the pandemic to end can be found in a back office of the fire department, where a medical-grade refrigerator and freezer are being kept.

As the race for a vaccine heats up, appliances that keep them cold are hot commodities as people like chief Jonathan Boyd prepare for the first shipments of a vaccine.

“I think its money well spent because every day that we continue to be in the pandemic is costing everyone lots and lots of money,” Boyd said.

Boyd said federal CARES act funding paid for the refrigerator and freezer.

Set to 43 degrees, the refrigerator could store the vaccine being developed by Johnson and Johnson.

The deep freezer that arrived this week could store Moderna's vaccine, the trial Boyd himself is participating in.

“I want to make sure that if I’m asking this community to take this vaccine that I know, 100% sure, that its safe,” he said.

Boyd could know as early as October if he received the vaccine or a placebo.

But even if a vaccine arrived today, he and his crews would be ready.

A shipping container outside the department is stuffed full of supplies like masks, gloves, gowns and 15,000 syringes.

“All of the things that we could possibly need to deliver this vaccine,” Boyd said.

Boyd said the first doses will go to health care workers and those most vulnerable.

Then the vaccines will need to be tracked. Some require two doses, weeks apart.

Boyd received his second shot Friday.

“We're going to do everything we can to provide a way out of this pandemic because I'm tired of it, everyone's tired of it,” he said.

The CDC has told all 50 states to be prepared to distribute a coronavirus vaccine by November 1, though the timeline hinges on how clinical trials and FDA approval works.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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