Health workers were stuck in the snow in Oregon with vaccines, so they improvised.


Public health workers found themselves stuck in a snowstorm on an Oregon highway this week, with only six hours to get the coronavirus vaccines they were carrying to people waiting for their shots about 30 miles away.

But with a jackknifed tractor-trailer ahead of them, the crew realized that they could be stuck for hours — and that the six doses of the Moderna vaccine would expire. So they began walking from car to car, asking stranded drivers if they wanted to be vaccinated on the spot.

“It was a strange conversation,” said Michael Weber, the public health director in Josephine County, Ore. “Imagine yourself stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm and having someone walk up and say: ‘Hey. Would you like a shot in the arm?’”

Most drivers laughed at the offer of a roadside coronavirus vaccine and politely declined, even though Mr. Weber said that he had a doctor and an ambulance crew on hand.

But all six doses went to grateful drivers. Mr. Weber said that making the decision to administer the vaccines on the highway was easy.

“Honestly, once we knew we weren’t going to be back in town in time to use the vaccine, it was just the obvious choice,” he said. “Our No. 1 rule right now is nothing gets wasted.”


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