2 trays of COVID-19 vaccines sent to Alabama returned due to temperature drop

Army Gen. Gustave Perna gave an update Wednesday on the distribution of the Pfizer COVID-19...
Army Gen. Gustave Perna gave an update Wednesday on the distribution of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and Operation Warp Speed.(Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 6:41 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Two trays of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines that were sent to Alabama were not released to hospitals due to deviations in the recommended temperature during shipment, the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed Wednesday.

“The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is aware that two trays of Pfizer COVID 19 vaccine sustained temperature excursion during shipment and that those trays were not released to any of the 15 pre identified hospitals in Alabama,” said Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH. “A replacement shipment for the two trays of product was received, and there is no delay in hospitals proceeding with their vaccination plans.”

According to a spokesperson for Operation Warp Speed, the impacted vaccines were shipped to Mobile. Pfizer’s temperature monitors detected the issue.

“While we regret the diversion, we are confident in the integrity of both the safety measures and contingency plans in place to overcome this type of event,” the spokesperson said.

In a briefing on the vaccines and Operation Warp Speed Wednesday, Army Gen. Gustave Perna said two trays sent to Alabama and two trays sent to two different locations in California dropped from minus 80 degrees to minus 92 degrees.

Perna said they were tracking the temperatures on the shipments, and when they noted the temperature dropped below minus 80 degrees, they “locked those trays down.”

“We’re working with the CDC, FDA and Pfizer to determine if that anomaly is safe or not, but we were taking no chances,” Perna said.

The trays were returned to Pfizer and new trays were shipped to the locations in Alabama and California, he said.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.