County must replace refrigerator

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Public Health Department needs to replace its fire-damaged vaccine refrigerator because the state has strict requirements about vaccines.

County Public Health Director Denise Frederick on Tuesday told the Board of Supervisors’ Human Services Committee her department’s pharmacy-grade vaccine refrigerator was damaged by a compressor fire May 9.

She said the county didn’t lose any vaccine as a result of the fire. But Frederick said the state Department of Health has strict requirements for the storage of state and federally supplied vaccine.

She said she would like to use state grant funding to pay part of the cost of replacing the refrigerator. She estimated the cost of the unit to be about $8,000.

At her request, the committee authorized a proposed contract with the state to accept immunization grant funds to offset expenditures. The proposed resolution will come before the full board June 10.

Frederick said the annual grant is retroactive to April 1 and runs through March 31, with maximum reimbursement of $30,000 during the period. State law requires local health departments to control disease, including an immunization program.

“This is an annual grant,” Frederick said. “We are required to conduct an immunization program.”

In other business, Frederick had her request approved to transfer $1,150 in funding from public health emergency preparedness expenses to equipment to purchase items under a state Public Health Preparedness Grant.

She said the county identified additional equipment allowable under the preparedness grant to support mass distribution and emergency preparedness education plans. Items included three dry-erase signs at $115 each and three educational material racks at $268 per unit.

Frederick said the grant funds are included in the county budget. She said the emergency preparedness grant year ends June 30, and unspent funds cannot be rolled into the next grant cycle.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at