Improperly sealed refrigerator door compromises about 1,300 vaccine doses on Maui

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Maui Health officials confirmed that approximately 1,300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were compromised on Monday, March 22, due to a refrigerator door that did not seal properly.

Current and future vaccination appointments will not be affected by the issue, according to Maui Health.

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Maui Health immediately contacted Pfizer and determined the doses needed to be removed and discarded appropriately. The Department of Health and the Healthcare Association of Hawaii (HAH) were also notified. The president and CEO of HAH said, he appreciates Maui Health’s transparency.

“It’s certainly not intentional or malicious, no one tried to inactivate these vaccines. The device was still working the refrigerator was still working, unfortunately, it was a few degrees higher than it should have been,”

Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of Healthcare Association of Hawaii

Raethel says the refrigerator is still usable and Maui Health is moving it to an area that is constantly monitored.

It turns out that this is not the first time vaccine doses have gone to waste here in Hawaii.

Hawaii has lost a total of 2,400 doses since the start of distribution. In 881 of those cases they had to be tossed out when a vial or syringe broke. However, this is the first time a large batch of doses was lost all at once.

Despite that, this should not impact any upcoming appointments.

“Fortunately we do have enough vaccine on Maui to thaw out this week and we are working to replace that tray for next week,” Raethel said.

Increased supply from the federal government will also help, though it’s still a loss for the state.

“We just got word from the federal government that we will be receiving more trays next week than what we received this week so we can make it up from that perspective, but instead of adding 3 or 4 additional trays or another 4,000 people or vaccinations next week, we are short we’d have to make up that tray,”

Click here to learn about Maui Health’s walk-up vaccine clinic being offered to kupuna ages 70 and older.

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