First major snowfall presents hurdle in vaccine transportation

Written by on December 15, 2020

First major snowfall presents hurdle in vaccine transportation

By WLVR News Director Jen Rehill

December 15, 2020

Randy Padfield speaks on transporting vaccines through inclement weather.

Pennsylvania braced itself for a massive winter storm this week, just as the first big batch of COVID-19 vaccines are set to be delivered in the Lehigh Valley and across the state. 

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The storm could dump up to two feet of snow in parts of the state, creating significant hurdles – keeping roads clear for emergency travel, rescuing stranded motorists and power outages.

Transporting vaccines while that’s happening is a new challenge. 

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Randy Padfield says most of the 110,000 doses expected this week will be on the road Wednesday and Thursday.

“The contingency plan would essentially be potentially using the National Guard,” said Padfield.

But Padfield says exactly what that support will look like isn’t clear yet.

“We probably would not need to go to the extent of ‘helicoptering’ vaccines in. The way it’s packaged and shipped, it can be kept in that situation for an extended period of time.” 

Padfield acknowledges that there are a lot of unknowns heading into the storm, but he says the State Police, PennDOT and other agencies will work together to get the vaccines delivered safely.

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