More than 1,100 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are DESTROYED in Florida after worker accidentally turns off power supply to refrigerator in a mobile vehicle where they were being stored
- Palm Beach health care worker accidentally shut off power supply to a refrigerator where the Pfizer vaccines were being stored
- The Pfizer vaccine must be kept refrigerated in order to preserve some of its components or else it is rendered useless
- The blunder meant that 232 vials of the vaccine – consisting of 1,160 doses – had to be destroyed
- Palm Beach County official are now storing supplies in centralized refrigerators with a backup generator to prevent such an incident from reoccurring
- Officials are struggling to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the American population in a timely fashion
- Only 6.9 percent of Americans have received their first Pfizer or Moderna shot; just 1.4 percent of citizens are fully vaccinated
- It is concerning news given that highly-contagious mutations of the virus from the UK, Brazil and South Africa have now been detected on US soil
Employees from the Palm Beach County Health Care District discovered the error last Friday morning while conducting a ‘quality assurance check’ before the vaccines were administered.
The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at a temperature of -70 degrees Fahrenheit in order to preserve some of its components, but they can be transferred to a regular refrigerator five days before being administered. If left any longer – or exposed to any warmer temperatures – they will degrade and become ineffective.
It’s unclear how the worker managed to turn off the power supply to the refrigerator, which was located inside a mobile vehicle.
More than 1,100 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine have been destroyed in Florida after a worker accidentally turned off the power supply to a refrigerator that was keeping the shots cool
Residents at an assisted living facility in Florida are pictured waiting for the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month
In a statement released Friday, Palm Beach County officials stressed that it was ‘a single, isolated incident caused by human error’ and insisted ‘it had absolutely no impact on patient safety’.
In light of the incident, officials have implemented ‘additional safeguards’, and will now ‘centralize all vaccine supplies at a secure location with 24/7 power generator back-up’.
The County says that the damaged vaccines, which constituted 232 vials – or approximately 1,160 doses – were safely destroyed.
The blunder comes as Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, revealed Friday that his company is trying to speed up development of future vaccines to under 100 days, warning there is a ‘high possibility’ that current vaccines may not be effective permanently.
Bourla said that Pfizer intends to move from recognizing a disease threat to getting a vaccine authorized in less than 100 days – a timeline even shorter than the 300-day goal put forth last year by the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.
COVID-19 vaccinations have been developed in record speed, due to technological advances, massive funding and public willingness to participate in trials.
However, there have been widespread lags with the vaccine’s rolll-out to the American public at large.
According to current data, only 6.9 percent of Americans have received their first of two Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines.
Just 1.4 percent of citizens have received both doses and are now fully vaccinated.
The stats are concerning given fears that new mutant variants of the coronavirus could be running rampant undetected in the US.
The mutations are said to be up to 70 percent more contagious, and could be 30 percent more deadly.
The wide spread of such strains could overwhelm the hospital system and cause an considerable increase in deaths.
Already the US has reported more than 25.9million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country and over 435,000 total deaths.
One Friday alone, 165,339 new cases 3,503 new deaths were added to the tally.
More than 101,000 Americans remain in hospital being treated for the virus.