US quarantines some COVID-19 vaccine shipments from Alabama after vials are too cold

US officials said today that they quarantined doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in Alabama this week after something in the shipping process caused the storage temperature to drop too low.

A similar quarantine has been announced for shipments to California, according to CNBC.

The Pfizer vaccine requires a storage temperature of about minus 70 degrees Celsius. Vials of the vaccine are stored in trays, each containing a minimum of 975 doses. Army General Gustave Perna, who oversees logistics for the Operation Warp Speed ​​vaccine program, told reporters that two trays of the vaccine that arrived at two separate locations in Alabama and California had to be returned to Pfizer after the temperature reached one point or another. way down to minus 92 degrees. Celsius.

Perna said the workers quarantined the vaccine and received a replacement shipment to Alabama and California. The quarantined vaccine “has never left the truck,” Perna said during a newsletter on Wednesday. “We immediately shipped them back to Pfizer and we immediately sent shipments to replace those two trays.”

It is unclear what caused the storage temperature to drop. Pfizer, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are all in the process of determining whether the formula can still be used when it reaches such low temperatures, Bloomberg said.

Americans began receiving some of the first injections of the Pfizers vaccine on Monday after the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine on Friday. Officials and medical experts had already recognized that Pfizer’s vaccine would pose a new logistical challenge as it must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Alabama this week, with three hospitals getting it first and another 12 a day later. The Alabama Department of Public Health does not disclose the hospitals that received the shipments for security reasons. Alabama will initially receive 40,950 doses.

During the briefing, Perna said vaccine deliveries in the US remain on track.

The federal government delivered 2.9 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine this week. Next week, the government plans to ship an additional 2 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, as well as 5.9 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, if approved by the FDA, Perna said.