MONTEREY (CBS SF) – The Monterey Bay Aquarium has stepped up to help fight COVID-19 in the community by loaning an ultra-cold freezer to a nearby hospital to store the Pfizer vaccine.

The aquarium lent one of its two freezers to Nativdad Hospital in Salinas on December 11, days before the hospital received its first 975 doses. Hospital officials said they originally planned to hold the Pfizer vaccine on dry ice, as they awaited delivery of a freezer purchased with the help of donations earlier this month.

Natividad Hospital assistant administrator Andrea Rosenberg said, “that would have been a lot of extra work.”

“We are very grateful to the Aquarium for our collaboration,” Rosenberg went on to say.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Freezer - Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

Monterey Bay Aquarium freezer being loaned to Natividad Hospital in Salinas on December 11, 2020. (Natividad Hospital)

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first to receive emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, requires storage at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezers that are capable of maintaining the ultra-low temperature cost between $5,000 and $15,000, the hospital said.

“Ultra-cold freezers are in high demand across the country. We’re honored to provide this freezer to the hospital while waiting to take delivery on its own,” said Dr. Mike Murray, a veterinarian at the aquarium.

Hospital officials said they have since received 1,400 doses of the recently authorized vaccine from Moderna, which can be stored in a standard freezer.

The aquarium has been closed to the public since the earliest days of the pandemic.