More than 1,000 Doses Of Pfizer’s COVID Vaccines To Be Destroyed After Employee Mistake

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Over 1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have had to be destroyed after an error made by an employee. It was found that a worker accidentally shut down the power supply to a mobile refrigerator unit, rendering the vaccine unusable.

Palm Beach County health officials have made it clear that the mistake was a “single, isolated incident caused by human error”, according to a statement released on Friday. They also insist it had “absolutely no impact on patient safety” and that the spoiled vaccines were safely destroyed.

The error was discovered by employees of the Palm Beach County Health Care District while they were conducting a quality assurance check on the morning of January 22nd, before inoculations began. Staff members discovered that the power supply had accidentally been turned off to a refrigerator inside a mobile outreach vehicle.

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232 vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were stored within the refrigerator, containing a total of 1,160 doses. It is reported that the vaccine must be stored at -70C, in order to preserve some of its components, before being transferred to a regular refrigerator five days before use. Exposure to warmer temperatures degrades the Belgian-made vaccine, rendering it ineffective.

It was not fully disclosed how the error happened, but health officials did say “additional layers of quality control” have now been implemented. The statement continued to say, “One of the additional safeguards includes centralising all vaccine supplies daily at a secure location with 24/7 power generator back-up”.

After verifying that the vials were unusable with Pfizer-BioNTech, the Health Care District say they destroyed them. Officials have said that the error was an “isolated incident”  and did not impact patient safety. They believe Palm Beach County residents should have the “utmost confidence in the integrity” of the vaccination system. The Health Care District said its health care system has provided nearly 25,000 COVID-19 vaccines since December 23rd.