SMU loans subzero freezer to the City of Dallas for COVID-19 vaccine storage

DALLAS — Southern Methodist University on Monday temporarily loaned a subzero freezer to the City of Dallas to help store the new allotment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Mayor Eric Johnson made the request of SMU on Friday after the State of Texas notified the City of Dallas that it would receive 4,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for public distribution. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at a temperature of -80 degrees Celsius, which is far colder than what was required to store the City’s allotment of the Moderna vaccine last week.

The subzero freezer had been used in the Department of Biological Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The subzero freezer had been used in the Department of Biological Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

“When we determined that we needed help with our vaccine distribution efforts, SMU made for a natural partner,” said Mayor Johnson, who has cultivated a growing a relationship between the university and the City. “This massive undertaking will require our community to work together, and I am incredibly grateful to SMU for stepping up during our city’s time of need.”

“SMU was eager to loan the freezer as soon as we learned of the need,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Our partnership with the City of Dallas is important, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help support vaccinating the community as quickly as possible.”

The City ordered a subzero freezer last year, but it has yet to arrive because of high demand. The loan of the freezer will not delay or disrupt SMU’s plans to distribute vaccines to its campus when they become available to the university, which is partially located in Dallas city limits.

The 23-cubic-foot freezer arrived Monday morning at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, where the City gave out more than 5,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week. The City will resume vaccinations with the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday and Thursday at the convention center. Methodist Dallas Medical Center, in partnership with the City, will also give out 3,000 of the Pfizer vaccine doses on Thursday and Friday.

The vaccines are given on an appointment-only basis, and only those who are invited directly by the City of Dallas or Methodist Health System will have their appointments honored. To receive an invitation, residents must be eligible under 1A or 1B criteria and must be registered on Dallas County’s COVID-19 vaccine wait list.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit DallasCityHall.com/covid19.

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