Ford Is Buying Extreme-Cold Freezers For Coronavirus Vaccines For Its Workers

Illustration for article titled Ford Is Buying Extreme-Cold Freezers For Coronavirus Vaccines For Its Workers
Photo: Ford

Ford at one point estimated that it was going to lose $5 billion due to the pandemic, and even though it later said the number turned out to be $1.9 billion, the factory shutdowns really did look for a time like an existential threat. Which means, going forward, Ford will do almost anything to avoid that again. Which is how the company found itself ordering ultra-cold freezers this week. It’s been a weird year.

Ford has ordered 12 of them, according to Reuters. The freezers are needed to store the vaccine being developed by Pfizer. That vaccine needs to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, or a lot colder than a typical freezer goes down to. The freezers won’t set Ford back that much money — Reuters says they typically cost up to $15,000 each, or up to $180,000 for a dozen of them, which is pocket change for a company like Ford — but as a symbol for how strange everything’s gotten they are hard to beat.

“We’re doing this so that we can make the vaccine available to our employees on a voluntary basis,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said.

Details of how Ford will use the freezers, which are expected to be delivered by year end, are still being worked out, she said.

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Felker did not know which company is supplying Ford with the freezers. Some specialty freezer makers have warned of months-long waits for units.

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Autoworkers won’t be the first to get the vaccine, of course — that would be healthcare workers — but Ford wants to be able to hit the ground running when the vaccine is more widely available and, thinking more long-term, avoid COVID-19 shutdowns for good. That the vaccines will be “voluntary” is somewhat interesting, though I have to imagine most if not all of Ford’s workers will go running toward getting the vaccine the moment it is available to them. Or at least I would.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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DISCUSSION

I like cars: Jim Spanfeller is one ugly motherfucker

...We’re okay with this? Why is Ford, which is not a healthcare provider, planning to stockpile vaccines? Everything I’ve heard about vaccination “waves” is that the first ones will go to healthcare workers, then folks who are at a severe risk, then essential workers, then the rest of us.

Are Ford employees really essential? Is society going to come to a halt if they don’t keep cranking out Excursions and Edges? A private company making a private stockpile for its employees is at best a Libertarian wet dream and at worst a direct subversion of the planned mass administration of the vaccine.