A&T to Receive Five Deep-Cold Storage Freezers for COVID-19 Vaccines

By Todd Simmons / 01/04/2021

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Dec. 23, 2020) -- With doses of COVID-19 vaccine now being shipped around the country, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will be well prepared to receive its share, thanks to new deep cold storage units being distributed to 15 campuses of the University of North Carolina System.

The 61 freezers are being shipped to all UNC System research campuses. North Carolina A&T will receive two large Stirling Ultracold units and three smaller ones, creating capacity for cold storage of 117,600 COVID-19 vaccines. Those smaller units are mobile freezers, which will enable A&T to help serve underserved community populations.

The freezers are being provided by the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory, which was established by the state General Assembly in 2016 to utilize and disseminate research expertise across the University of North Carolina System for practical use by state and local government. In May 2020, state lawmakers appropriated $29 million to the Collaboratory to develop and oversee a pan-campus COVID-19 research portfolio that has resulted in more than 85 individual projects across 15 UNC System campuses, including A&T.

Once the freezers are in place, A&T staff will remotely monitor them to ensure they maintain sufficiently low temperatures to safely store the vaccines. The units will also have backup power connections to make certain they continue to operate properly in the event of an outage. 

The UNC System office will coordinate distribution of vaccines to system campuses with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Offices. Neither A&T nor its system peers will independently procure vaccines. 

“We are looking forward to receiving vaccines and being ready to serve our campus constituents and others as soon as possible,” said interim A&T Student Health Center Director Padonda Webb, DNP, FNP-BC. “With two vaccines already approved and more candidates in the pipeline, our hope is that vaccines will be readily available in the first half of the new year, helping us to effectively stem the spread of coronavirus and decrease the number of infections, illnesses and deaths caused by the disease.”

Media Contact Information: thsimmons@ncat.edu