ALISO VIEJO (CBSLA) – About 6,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine being kept at a large-scale vaccination site in Aliso Viejo were deemed safe for use Wednesday evening after a scare that they may have possibly spoiled.
There was fear that the 6,000 Pfizer doses slated to be administered at the Soka University vaccination super site had potentially spoiled and may be unusable due to a malfunctioning refrigerator discovered very early Wednesday morning.
The pharmacists who arrived at work at 4:30 a.m. to begin the process of preparing the vaccines noticed the refrigerator had malfunctioned and was not operating within the specific required temperature range, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said.
The vaccines stored in that refrigerator were put aside and other doses were brought in so appointments made for Wednesday would not be affected.
However, O.C. officials confirmed to CBSLA Wednesday evening that the doses were examined and determined to be safe.
“A refrigeration temperature irregularity was detected last night at the Soka University Super POD site,” an O.C. spokesperson said in a statement. “In an abundance of caution, the COVID-19 vaccine affected by the temperature variance was not administered and the manufacturer was contacted.
“After reviewing the details, the manufacturer advised that the temperature variance did not harm the vaccine’s safety or efficacy and provided confirmation that the vaccine is safe to dispense under the normal protocol.
“There were no disruptions to the appointment schedule or the administration of the vaccine at the Soka University Super POD site today.”
The Pfizer vaccine must be put in a special deep freezer. It is then transferred to a refrigerator to begin thawing. The next step is to mix it and let it fully thaw at room temperature before inoculations can begin. The vaccine must be used within six hours of being thawed to room temperature.
The affected doses were not fully thawed and can be used over the next several days, Kim said. Officials expect to use them over the next two days.
Meanwhile, there was also a tweet sent out by the Orange County Health Care Agency Wednesday morning stating that some second dose appointments this upcoming weekend had to be pushed back to a later date to “better manage vaccine supply.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)