SPRINGFIELD, Ore.-- A local company is helping out with the COVID-19 vaccine distribution by producing dry ice to be used to store the Pfizer vaccine.
Industrial Source is already producing large amounts of dry ice at their Medford plant. That dry ice is being distributed to hospitals and medical clinics so they can store the Pfizer vaccine. Their Springfield plant is still waiting for the arrival of a dry ice machine that officials said can produce up to 1,600 pounds of dry ice an hour. The machine is expected to be up and running by late February.
Paul Haugen, a salesman for Industrial Source, said the company already had plans to produce dry ice in Springfield before the vaccine was announced. But with the announcement, the company began to speed up efforts to start dry ice production.
"We put the word out that if you need dry ice, whether it will be 500 pounds or 1,000-pound totes, or even for coolers," Haugen said. "We're here to help, we can supply it now, and we can be in even more control of that here in another three or four weeks."
Having dry ice produced locally gives local hospitals and medical clinics easy access to dry ice. Dry ice itself has a short shelf life and starts to dissipate after it's compressed into a solid from a Carbon Dioxide gas. The medical community will be able to use the dry ice longer and store more vaccines in their facilities.
For Haugen, he and his colleagues are happy they can play a small role in helping the community get through the pandemic.
"We're excited to get the ball rolling," Haugen said. "I think the dry ice is going to be a critical part of the supply chain. But like I said, we're excited to be able to support where we can and how we can."