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Health Care District of Palm Beach County spoils 1,160 doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Refrigerator storing vaccine 'unintentionally turned off'
COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 7:23 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 20:25:04-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — More than a thousand doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were spoiled last week in Palm Beach County after the Health Care District said a refrigerator was unintentionally turned off.


Spokeswoman Robin Kish said Friday that on Jan. 22, staff members identified 232 refrigerated vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech outside the required temperature control range.

Those vials contained 1,160 doses of the COVID vaccine.

Kish said the Health Care District checked with the vaccine manufacturer, who verified that the doses were not usable, so all vials were destroyed.

Officials said the incident was caused when the power to the refrigerator storing the vaccine was "unintentionally turned off," causing the temperature to rise.

"The Health Care District immediately implemented additional layers of quality control measures in its vaccine cold chain management to maintain the integrity of all vaccine supply moving forward. One of the additional safeguards includes centralizing all vaccine supplies daily at a secure location with 24/7 power generator back-up," Kish said in a written statement.

Health officials call it an "isolated incident caused by human error," but it did not impact patient safety.

"The Health Care District can ensure that all COVID-19 vaccinations provided to patients were always administered safely in accordance with the highest standards of care. The public should have the utmost confidence in the integrity of our vaccination system," Kish said.

Since their vaccination efforts began on Dec. 23, the Health Care District said their health care system has provided nearly 25,000 COVID-19 vaccines across Palm Beach County.