BARRIE, ONT. -- Markdale-based Chapman's Ice Cream will play a significant role in the storage of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Special subzero freezers are needed to store the Pfizer doses, so Chapman's offered to help.

"We hooked up with one supplier who had two low temperature -80C units left, and we said 'ok, we will buy them both,'" said vice president Ashley Chapman, who said he then notified the Grey Bruce Health Unit the freezers were on the way. "The main point is that we want to help in any way we can."

Chapman said the company has been part of the pandemic relief plan for the area for over three decades and has been working with local medical experts throughout the pandemic.

"The businesses, the people, the effects of this pandemic has just been catastrophic on a lot of lives. Anything I can do since day one of the pandemic to help people and try and keep people safe, I will," Chapman said.

While the freezers are expected to arrive in the next couple of weeks, it's not clear when the vaccine will roll out across the region.

"I would say we don't know for sure," said Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's medical officer of health. "It's possible it could be as early as next week, and we are working diligently with RVH and the City of Barrie to be fully prepared to do that."

But whenever it does arrive, Chapman said they would be ready.

"After 47 years in [the] ice cream business, we know a whole lot about freezers," he said.