The Health Service Executive (HSE) has apologised after more than 130 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine became unusable after being “incorrectly stored”.
The Irish Times reports that the doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had to be discarded after delivery to a nursing home in the Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation area.
According to the HSE, 22 vaccine vials “cannot now be used” as the “appropriate cold chain was not in place”.
Each vial of the vaccine holds about six doses, meaning at least 132 doses of the vaccine became unusable due to the storage error.
However, 49 residents and staff at the nursing home were successfully vaccinated using separate doses of the vaccine, the HSE said.
Remaining vaccinations at the nursing home will be carried out “as soon as possible”, a HSE spokeswoman said.
“It is disappointing for all concerned, residents and staff, and we are sorry that this incident has taken place,” she said.
“We’re very conscious that this is upsetting news for families, residents and staff members who are working hard to protect residents from Covid-19, and we are offering a range of supports to all concerned,” she added.
“The breach has been reported and all necessary processes will be followed.”
Vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine must be refrigerated between two and eight degrees after being removed from ultra-cold storage for distribution. The doses must be used within six hours after they reach room temperature.
In the Republic, the vaccine is currently stored in a cold chain facility in Citywest, Dublin, in specialist minus 70 degree freezers. Vials are transported in vans with specialist refrigerated compartments to keep the vials between two and eight degrees.