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Family-owned freezer company suddenly key part of COVID vaccine supply chain

An Ohio company has moved to the front lines of the effort to distribute potential COVID-19 vaccines across the globe because of a unique product they make – a freezer.

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An Ohio company has moved to the front lines of the effort to distribute potential COVID-19 vaccines across the globe because of a unique product they make – a freezer.

“Normally, our business is onesie or twosie orders. We’re getting orders for 50, 40, 210…” said Dan Hensler, vice president of So-Low Environmental Equipment.

The freezers So-Low makes aren’t exactly the kind in most kitchens.

The So-Low freezers reach temperatures of -91 Celsius or -130 Fahrenheit.

The freezers have skyrocketed in demand because the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at -70 Celsius or -94 Fahrenheit. This week, Pfizer announced its vaccine tested 90% effective against COVID in trials.

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Moderna's potential COVID-19 vaccine, which is 94.5% effective, can be kept at -20 degrees Celsius or -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

“No one in the United States has the capacity. There’s a worldwide shortage of freezers,” Hensler said.

So-Low has about 50 employees who have been working overtime and on Saturdays to keep up with demand.

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The family-owned company was founded in 1959 on a site near where Riverfront Stadium would later be built.

The 95-year-old founder still reports to work daily.

Hensley recognized that it’s not every day that a company making freezers steps into the national spotlight for an effort that can help the nation.

“No, but we’re glad that we can help,” Hensley said.