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They Had Six COVID Vaccines Left And Were Stuck In The Snow — So They Started Knocking On Car Windows

One of the drivers in Oregon started "doing a happy dance in his seat when he finally believed we were actually going to give him a vaccine," according to a public health official.

Posted on January 28, 2021, at 12:24 p.m. ET

Two people inject a woman with a vaccine on a snowy road
Josephine County Public Health Department

Some lucky Americans have been gifted with a surprise coronavirus vaccine while shopping at a supermarket. Others have followed social media rumors to score a dose.

But six people in Oregon on Tuesday managed to secure their shot because they happened to be stuck on a snowy highway at the right place at the right time.

Officials with the Josephine County, near the California border, had been holding a three-day COVID-19 vaccination event at a local high school when they had to close early. "A snowstorm was coming in during the clinic, and we had to leave before the vaccines were administered," Josephine County Public Health Director Mike Weber told BuzzFeed News.

The team had six doses of the Moderna vaccine left over that had been set aside for individuals in the nearby town of Grants Pass, but an accident on the snowy road caused a traffic jam.

Knowing they'd be stuck for quite some time, and the Moderna shot had just six hours left in its shelf life, they got to work looking for other stranded motorists who might want a surprise vaccine.

"We hopped out and just started going car to car," Weber said.

Amid heavy snowfall and on a road blanketed in snow, the team had to convince drivers this wasn't a practical joke.

"It was a mixed bag of reactions," Weber said. "Most people found it funny. It's kind of an amusing situation to find yourself in. It's not something most people expect!"

When @JoCoPH concluded its vaccination event at the Illinois Valley High School, they never guessed they might be setting up an impromptu clinic on the way back to Grants Pass. But that's exactly what happened when a snowstorm stranded about 20 personnel on Highway 199.

Twitter: @CountyJosephine

One man was so happy he even jumped out of his car and ripped his shirt off to receive his injection.

"He was doing a happy dance in his seat when he finally believed we were actually going to give him a vaccine," said Weber.

Another woman who received a dose worked for the local Sheriff's Office and had actually been on her way to the pop-up vaccination clinic when the weather delayed her.

An ambulance was present at the scene just in case anyone needed it.

The lucky six will receive cards in the mail allowing them to return for their booster shots in four weeks' time.

Weber said it is one of the coolest operations he's ever been involved in.

"This is what public health does: We're here to help the community," he said. "Right now, the best thing we can do for the community is get these vaccines out."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.